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North Dakota Senate passes conference committee's 'trespass bill'

“The Pioneer Family” stands in front of the North Dakota State Capitol on July 14, 2016, in Bismarck. Forum file photo

BISMARCK — North Dakota's Senate on Thursday, April 25, approved a new version of the so-called "trespass bill," which addresses hunting access on private land.

Senators passed the bill 29-17. A conference committee had passed the version of the bill that presumes all private land is closed except for hunting, unless asked to leave by the landowner or if the land is legally posted.

The bill includes criminal penalties, such as a Class C felony for trespassing into dwellings or "highly secured premises." Other penalties include misdemeanors for elsewhere, hunting on posted land without permission and subsequent violations.

The bill also includes a study to look at land access issues, such as trespass violations and recommendations for electronic posting, as well as a trial hunting access database for up to three counties.

The bill now goes to the House as lawmakers work in their final days of session.

The House had previously stripped amendments from the bill that included an interim committee to study land access issues.