Learn More About the Biennium Cycle

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.