North Dakota is one of four states in which the legislature meets biennially in odd-numbered years. The other states are Montana, Nevada, and Texas.

  1. Legislative Session - In North Dakota, each regular legislative biennium generally begins the second Tuesday in January of odd-numbered years. (fiscal bienniums begin in July of odd-numbered years).
  2. Crossover - Bills passed by the house of origin are sent to the other house for consideration and final passage.
  3. 80-day limit - Section 7, Article IV of the Constitution of North Dakota states "No regular session of the legislative assembly may exceed eighty natural days during the biennium."
  4.  Interim preparations - Studies from session bills and resolutions are prioritized and assigned to committees. Legislators also are assigned to interim committees.
  5. Appropriation and tax measures become effective July 1 of odd-numbered years.
  6. Nonappropriation and tax measures become effective August 1 of odd-numbered years unless otherwise specified in the bill.
  7. Primary election - An election held to narrow preferences by party in preparation for the general election. Participants may vote for only one political party during a primary election. Candidates also are nominated for the nonparty offices to be voted upon at the general election.
  8. General election - An election to choose an individual's choice for legislators and other various elected positions. Voters may cross political parties during a general election.
  9. Legislative Management meeting - Interim committees submit a final report of study findings and recommended bill drafts to be introduced during the regular legislative session. The Legislative Management reviews and approves reports and bill drafts.
  10. Terms of legislators elected during the general election take effective December 1 of even-numbered years.
  11. Organizational Session - Three-day session for organizational and orientation purposes in preparation for the regular legislative session. Organizational days are in addition to the 80 legislative days for regular legislative session.


North Dakota Biennium Cycle Circle of Life

    How to Testify

    North Dakota has one of the most "open" legislatures in the nation. This brochure is a guide to testifying before a legislative committee.


    The North Dakota Legislative Assembly also allows remote and written testimony submissions. Please review How to Submit Bill Testimony for online submission.

    Are you interested in learning more about how a bill becomes law? Are you interested in learning about the legislative process? You are invited to spend a day with your district Representative or Senator, or be a legislative assistant/page for a day to learn the processes and procedures first-hand.


    COVID-19 Information Center

    Summary of Policy on Interim Committee Meetings

    In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Representative Chet Pollert, Chairman of the Legislative Management, requested all interim committee chairmen to consider whether interim committee meetings scheduled to meet in April and May may be postponed. The Chairman's policy indicated if an interim committee would have any time-sensitive items to consider, the meeting may be held remotely in a manner consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Representative Pollert updated the policy to provide June interim committee meetings will be held remotely. In accordance with the CDC guidelines for social distancing, public access to the room in which any committee meeting is scheduled will be restricted. However, all interim committee meetings held under these circumstances will be live streamed and may be viewed through this link https://video.ndlegis.gov/.



    The first reported case of COVID-19 was on January 10, 2020, and 10 days later, the United States confirmed its first positive test result. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and North Dakota confirmed its first case of the illness. On March 13, 2020, President Donald J. Trump declared a national emergency, and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum issued Executive Order 2020-03 declaring a “state of emergency in North Dakota in response to the public health crisis resulting from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)” and activating the North Dakota State Emergency Operations Plan.


    Legislative Response

    On March 18, 2020, the Legislative Procedure and Arrangements Committee convened an interim legislative meeting in the Senate Chamber and by conference call for the first time due to public health recommendations related to COVID-19.

    On March 19, 2020, Chairman Chet Pollert informed the Legislative Management members legislative leaders had met with the Governor regarding the COVID-19 situation. Chairman Pollert expressed the need to keep Legislative Assembly members informed, and the committee discussed having the Legislative Council staff involved in meetings for this purpose. Chairman Pollert also provided guidance about future interim committee meetings.

    Also on March 19, 2020, the Budget Section approved a State Department of Health request to increase federal funds spending authority by $6 million, including $1.9 million in the grants line item to accept and expend funds from the CDC to contain and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. On April 7, 2020, the Budget Section approved requests for increases in federal funds spending authority relating to the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act from the Department of Human Services of $42.7 million, the Department of Public Instruction of $36.6 million, the Department of Transportation of $17,996,449, and the State Library of $200,000 and approved a request from the Department of Human Services to increase special funds spending authority by $36 million for the purpose of creating a Childcare Emergency Operation Grant program to support child care providers until the termination of the COVID-19 emergency declaration.

    On April 15, 2020, the Employee Benefits Programs Committee provided a live stream option to members of the public in lieu of a meeting room for the first time due to public health considerations and in accordance with Executive Order 2020-16.

    On May 15, 2020, the Budget Section approved a request from the Department of Health for the transfer of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention federal funds spending authority of $6 million from various line items to a new COVID-19 response line item. The Budget Section also increased federal funds spending authority as listed below.


    • Bank of North Dakota, $200 million
    • Job Service North Dakota, $110 million
    • State Department of Health, $91,308,461
    • Information Technology Department, $67,618,226
    • Department of Human Services, $58,660,690
    • Industrial Commission, $33,175,000
    • Department of Commerce, $5,303,030
    • Secretary of State, $3 million
    • Attorney General, $2,832,871
    • Department of Agriculture, $1,395,000
    • Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, $1,287,549
    • The Council on the Arts, $421,700
    • Veterans’ Home, $131,097
    • Department of Trust Lands, $120,000

    Current information about scheduled and canceled meetings of the Legislative Management interim committees and about other activities relating to the legislative branch may be found on the Events Calendar.


    Legislative Council

    On March 19, 2020, Governor Burgum issued Executive Order 2020-06, which directed state entities to “accelerate the transition” to remote work and limited capitol access. On March 23, the Legislative Council closed its office to visitors, and most of its staff, along with most State of North Dakota employees, started working remotely. On May 18, the Legislative Council began a phased staff return; and on May 22, Governor Burgum issued Executive Order 2020-06.7, which authorized many state workers who had been working remotely to return to their offices and directed reopening of the capitol and other state facilities to the public, starting June 1.

    Legislative Council staff continue to provide services to legislators and to members of the public and remain available by email at lcouncil@nd.gov and by telephone at 701-328-2916.


    Legislative Council Memorandums

    Analysis of Executive Order 2020-06.4 Regarding Regulation of Businesses
    Authority to Restrict Business Operations During a State Emergency
    Census Delays - Potential Impacts on Funding and Legislative Representation
    Federal Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Relief Funding
    Federal State Fiscal Recovery Funds - Treasury Department Guidelines
    Governor’s Authority to Issue Executive Orders Suspending Unemployment Compensation Provisions in an Emergency
    Gubernatorial Emergency Powers
    Gubernatorial Executive Orders Declaring States of Emergency and Degree of Legislative Involvement
    Gubernatorial Executive Orders Mandating Voting by Mail
    Gubernatorial Executive Orders Related to Restricting Access to Private Businesses and State Facilities
    Gubernatorial Executive Orders Related to Extending Workers' Compensation Coverage
    Legal Considerations for Remote Legislative Sessions
    Legislative Emergency Powers
    Summary of Executive Orders Issued in Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
    Summary of United States House of Representatives Bill No. 133 - Preliminary Estimate of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Federal Fiscal Relief Funding
    Summary of United States House of Representatives Bill No. 1319 Preliminary Estimate of Federal Funds Available to North Dakota
    Travel, Quarantine, and Sanitation Orders
    Responding to the Census During the Pandemic
    Use of Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Funding



    Statutory Resources

    23-01-05(12) - Orders relating to disease control measures
    23-01.3-05 - Nonpublic disclosure in emergency circumstances
    23-01.3-07 - Disclosure of a public health incident
    23-35-08(8) - Confinement, decontamination, and sanitary measures
    23-07 - Reportable Diseases
    23-07.6 - Communicable Disease Confinement Procedure
    37-17.1 - Emergency Services
    37-17.4 - Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act
    37-17.5 - Disaster or Emergency Remediation Work
    54-16 - Emergency Commission


    State of North Dakota Resources

    State Department of Health Hotline: 1-866-207-2880, Monday-Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    State of North Dakota COVID-19 Resources
    State Department of Health Coronavirus Information
    Governor's Executive Orders
    State Health Officer Orders
    Bank of North Dakota COVID-19 Update
    COVID-19 Business and Employer Resources
    COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and Insurance
    COVID-19 Cyber Threats
    COVID-19 Tribal Information
    Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation COVID-19 Information
    Department of Emergency Services Disaster Procedures Guide
    Department of Environmental Quality COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information
    Department of Financial Institutions COVID-19 Resources
    Department of Labor and Human Rights FAQ on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
    Department of Mineral Resources COVID-19 Response
    Department of Public Instruction Updates and Guidance on COVID-19
    North Dakota Parks and Recreation COVID-19 Update
    North Dakota State University Extension Service COVID-19 Resource Webpage
    Office of the State Auditor COVID-19 Update
    Public Service Commission COVID-19 Office and Hearing Procedures


    Additional Resources

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Coronavirus (COVID-19)
    Council of State Governments - COVID-19 Resources for State Leaders
    National Conference of State Legislatures - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources for States 
    The Pew Charitable Trusts - State Action on Coronavirus
    Stateside - 2020 State and Local Government Responses to COVID-19
    World Health Organization - Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic


    The content provided on this website is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The provided information is not intended to be exhaustive but will be updated periodically. The Legislative Council makes no representation as to the completeness or accuracy of information provided by outside sources.

    Originally created by the 1945 Legislative Assembly as the Legislative Research Committee, the name was changed to the Legislative Council in 1969. Effective August 1, 2009, the Legislative Council became the Legislative Management. Its staff of attorneys, fiscal analysts, information technology, support, and library personnel retain the name Legislative Council. Today the 17-member Legislative Management by statute consists of 17 legislators, including the Majority and Minority Leaders of both houses and the Speaker of the House. The remaining six members from each chamber are appointed on a proportionate basis, with at least one of the of six appointed from each chamber from the minority party.


    Following each legislative session, the newly appointed Legislative Management meets to determine upcoming interim studies and committee memberships. Each legislator serves on one or more interim committees in the two-year period between legislative sessions. Several interim committees and commissions, such as the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, Administrative Rules, Commission on Alternatives to Incarceration, Budget Section, Employee Benefits Programs, Energy Development and Transmission, Higher Education Funding, Information Technology, Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review, Legislative Ethics, Tribal and State Relations, Water Topics Overview, and Workers' Compensation Review, function under statutory authority. Other interim committees are named and assigned by the Legislative Management members. Between sessions, interim committees hold hearings, take testimony, and review information provided by the Legislative Council, state agencies, and interested parties as they consider alternative approaches to issues raised by studies. As the need arises, the Chairman of the Legislative Management can assign additional studies during the interim.  Occasionally, it is necessary for the Legislative Management to contract with universities, consulting firms, or outside professionals on specialized studies and projects. However, the vast majority of studies are handled entirely by the Legislative Council staff.


    In November of each even-numbered year, the Legislative Management meets to consider the results of all committee work and may accept, reject, or amend committee reports. The Legislative Management then presents its recommendations, together with bills and resolutions necessary for implementation, to the North Dakota Legislative Assembly. The Legislative Management is, in a sense, the Legislative Assembly working between sessions. 


    Providing continuity between legislative sessions, Legislative Management through its attorneys, accountants, and other personnel known as the Legislative Council provides a wide range of services to legislators, other state agencies, and the public, including:


    • Staffing interim study committees.
    • Drafting bills and resolutions.
    • Supervising the publication of the "Laws of North Dakota" (Session Laws), the "North Dakota Century Code," and the "North Dakota Administrative Code."
    • Providing legal advice on legislative matters to legislators and legislative committees.
    • Considering problems of statewide significance that surface during the interim.
    • Handling financial administration for the legislative branch.
    • Developing and managing information technology services for the Legislative Assembly.
    • Reviewing information technology in all three branches of state government.
    • Representing the Legislative Assembly at interstate organizations, such as the National Conference of State Legislatures, Midwestern Legislative Conference, Council of State Governments, and the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.
    • Encouraging coordination between the Legislative Assembly and other branches of state government.
    • Responding to informational needs of legislators and their constituents.
    • Handling miscellaneous interim business for the Legislative Assembly.
    • Maintaining a library of contemporary and historical legislative reference sources.
    • Preparing and submitting to the Secretary of State the estimated fiscal impact of an initiated measure, then tracking and reporting on actual fiscal impact if voters approve the initiated measure.

    In the area of governmental finance, the Legislative Management employs the Legislative Budget Analyst and Auditor who, with the assistance of a fiscal staff, provides technical expertise to budget and appropriation committees, reviews audit reports for the Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee (LAFRC), and assists in conducting LAFRC studies designed to improve the state's fiscal practices.

    Nearly every facet of state government has been influenced by one or more of the Legislative Management's interim studies over the past 64 years. Statutory revisions; government reorganization; development of coal, oil, and gas resources; school finance; tax structure; higher education; court unification; gaming; intergovernmental cooperation; administrative rules; human services; waste management; elections; reapportionment; Indian affairs; economic development; and information technology and telecommunications are among the numerous areas impacted by interim studies.

    Perhaps of most value to citizen legislators are interim committees that allow members to keep up with rapidly changing developments in complex fields. For instance, the Budget Section receives the Governor's executive budget just prior to each legislative session, and the Administrative Rules Committee monitors executive branch rules.

    The 1995 Legislative Assembly gave the Legislative Management authority to reconvene the Legislative Assembly. A reconvened session cannot exceed the number of days available (80 natural days) but not used by the last regular legislative session.


    Legislative Management Final Reports


    Legislative Management Committees

    The Legislative Assembly holds the copyright for legislator photos. A legislator photo is available for use only in articles and publications related to the legislator's service as a legislator. Photos may NOT be used for nonlegislative boards, commissions, or memberships, campaigns, or for personal use. 


    To request legislator photos, please fill out the form below. Requests will be processed within 2 business days.


    Legislator Photo Request Form