2019 North Dakota Legislative Accomplishments

The North Dakota Legislature has adjourned the 2019 session.  Here's what ACS CAN accomplished in North Dakota to save more lives from cancer.

Tobacco Control:

  • Smoke-free law: North Dakota has one of the most comprehensive smoke-free laws in the nation.  In 2019, we protected the smoke-free law from an effort to weaken the current law and allow smoking indoors at tobacco bars. 
  • Tobacco prevention and cessation programs: The North Dakota Department of Health budget passed the legislature with $11.6 million in funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs for the next biennium.  
  • Legislative study of e-cigarettes: A bill was passed to allow for a legislative study to evaluate the use of e-cigarettes and determine strategies to reduce and prevent e-cigarette use among North Dakota youth.  We will encourage the legislature to act on this study during the interim.
  • Tobacco tax increase: North Dakota ranks 48th in the Nation when it comes to taxes on cigarettes. At just 44 cents per pack, we are well below the national average of $1.79 per pack. We were asking for an increase of at least $1.00 per pack of cigarettes and similar increase to other tobacco products. No bills were passed this session to increase the tobacco tax or define e-cigarettes as tobacco products in order to tax them as such. 
  • Regulation of tobacco sales: No bills were passed to help combat the increased use of tobacco products by youth such as restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products (including e-liquids) or raising the age of sale for tobacco products to age 21. 

Cancer Screening:

  • Women's Way breast and cervical cancer screening program: Protected funding for the North Dakota Women's Way program.  Women's Way provides breast and cervical cancer screening for individuals who are uninsured or underinsured and otherwise can't afford these life-saving cancer screenings. During the last biennium, Women's Way provided 2,034 cancer screenings for individuals in North Dakota.
  • Colorectal Cancer Screening Initiative: Protected funding for the North Dakota Colorectal Cancer Screening Initiative, which provides colonoscopies or at-home fecal immunochemical (FIT) tests for colorectal cancer screening to individuals who are uninusured or underinsured and otherwise could not afford these preventative and life-saving cancer screenings. During the last biennium, the screening initiative provided 1,145 cancer screenings for individuals in North Dakota.

Access to Care:

  • Medicaid Expansion: The North Dakota Legislature re-authorized Medicaid Expanion to provide healthcare coverage for nearly 20,000 North Dakotans who would otherwise be uninsured and would not be able to afford cancer screenings and other healthcare services. 
  • Lowering the cost of healthcare plans: The North Dakota Legislature has taken steps to lower costs for plans on the individual insurance marketplace. We have submitted public comments to the Insurance Commissioner in support of efforts to lower the cost of healthcare plans for North Dakotans.