Now that Governor Jack Dalrymple has signed three controversial pro-life bills into law, one prohibiting abortions after a heartbeat is detected, all eyes turn to Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem who will be tasked with defending those laws in court.
I interviewed Stenehjem about the issue yesterday:
There are a lot of unknowns about what comes next. Stenehjem won’t really know what the path forward looks like until the opposition to this legislation begins filing legal documents, but he expects some sort of injunction to be filed this summer (the law doesn’t take effect until August). There is also word of a potential referral, and Stenehjem noted that may delay legal proceedings.
One interesting note is that, despite rumors of pro-life groups offering up funds to defray or even pay for the state’s legal costs over these bills, Stenehjem says no person or group has contacted his office with such an offer.
Update: Legislative sources email me to say that there are groups willing to fund the state’s litigation, but that they’re waiting for the legislature to set up a fund. In my interview, Stenehjem notes that he expects that the legislature will set up a fund. My legislative sources tell me the plan is to construct it so that the fund can accept donations for the express purpose of funding litigation and that once it’s set up there are private groups that will contribute to it with the state making up any shortfalls.