By Terry Jones
Across the Finish Line!!
It has been such an honor to serve District 4 as your legislator for the 66th legislative session in Bismarck.
The last finale for me was pushing HB 1286 across the finish line. This particular bill is serious reforms for civil asset forfeiture. North Dakota had an F rating on civil asset forfeiture by the institute for Justice, a national organization.
I look forward to seeing what our grade will be in their next rating after they take into account the changes that we implemented this session
We changed it so property cannot be forfeited unless there is a conviction or equivalent if conviction is absolutely not possible due to various reasons (some examples: death, flees jurisdiction, plea bargains, jurisdictional issues (person lives in a different country or state)).
In the cases where it is impossible to get a conviction it has to be proven to a judge beyond a reasonable doubt that the property being forfeited was used in or was the proceeds of criminal activity. Forfeitures cannot be unconstitutionally excessive because of the wording in this legislation which is consistent with a recent U.S. Supreme Court case.
Another component of this bill that is important, is that we will now have annual reporting that will be available for public view on the North Dakota attorney general’s website.
I am pleased to have been able to work with the sponsors of the bill, the Senate, law enforcement officers, and citizen’s input to get this reform completed.
Another bill that was high pressure at the end of session was the one that allowed the Bureau of Indian Affairs limited arrest authority off the reservation to assist with drug task forces and other crimes that has direct ties to the reservation.
This was passed to help fight crime in North Dakota.
On a personal note I have had several people ask why I would want to be a legislator. My wife has observed that I seem to enjoy it. Let me explain. I have been a farmer and rancher/construction worker all my adult life. I have been married now for almost 33 years. I have learned that the most important thing in business and marriage is problem solving.
And as I have made my way through life I have learned to enjoy being a problem solver. The harder the problem the bigger the thrill it is to find and implement solutions.
As a legislator people bring us loads and loads of problems so it is smorgasbord of problem solving opportunities. S
o I truly enjoy being a legislator to solve problems for North Dakota.
If you have any questions on other bills or issues feel free to contact me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my phone number is 307-272-1915