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Published February 04, 2011, 12:20 PM

ND Crisis Managers Want Power to Order Evacuations

Local North Dakota emergency managers are supporting a bill in the Legislature to give them power to order mandatory evacuations in emergencies.

By: Associated Press, WDAZ

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Local North Dakota emergency managers are supporting a bill in the Legislature to give them power to order mandatory evacuations in emergencies.

People who refuse to leave could be fined $500.

North Dakota homeland security director Greg Wilz says the authority is necessary to save lives.

But the bill got some questions in the North Dakota House's Political Subdivisions Committee on Friday. West Fargo Rep. Kim Koppelman says it sounds like martial law.

Under current law, local emergency managers can advise people to evacuate their homes in a crisis. But they can't force anyone to leave and there's no penalty for refusing.

Wilz says the power would be used when it would be dangerous for emergency responders to try to rescue someone who refused to evacuate.

The bill is HB1327.

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