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North Dakota to vote for equal parenting rights and decision-making responsibility in child custody cases

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North Dakota voters will decide in November on a ballot measure that would create a law providing for equal parenting rights and decision-making responsibility in child custody cases, Secretary of State Al Jaeger said Monday.

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Sponsors needed the signatures of 13,452 qualified voters to get the measure on the Nov. 4 ballot. They submitted 15,001 signatures in June, and Jaeger's office verified 14,452 of the signatures.

The measure would amend state law to create the presumption that each parent in a custody case is a fit parent and entitled to be awarded equal parental rights and responsibilities by a court "unless there is clear and convincing evidence to the contrary." The measure also would provide a definition of equal parenting time.

North Dakota voters rejected a similar ballot measure in 2006.

The measure is the first initiated petition to be approved for the Nov. 4 ballot. The four measures previously placed on the ballot were done so through resolutions passed by the Legislature.

Sponsors turned in signatures Friday for a proposed ballot measure that would change North Dakota's pharmacy ownership law. Jaeger's office has until Aug. 22 to determine if the signatures are sufficient.

Petitions also are still being circulated for measures to create a conservation fund and trust for clean water, wildlife and parks and to require school classes to begin after Labor Day. Sponsors for those two measures have untilĀ Aug. 6 to submit signatures.

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