House Passes Mandatory Evacuations Bill, Senate Kills Limits To State Auditors

North Dakota Flooding

The legislature voted today on a couple of bills I’ve written about in the past.

First, the House passed HB1120 allowing the executive officer of any county or city in the state to order mandatory evacuations for up to seven days, and beyond with the approval of the city council/county commission.

Currently only the governor can order mandatory evacuations. I’ve written before that this sort of local authority is unnecessary, and is more likely to do harm than good. Rare are the situations when citizens won’t evacuate, when when citizens resist it may be for some pretty good reasons. How often, in the flooding our communities face, could homes or businesses be saved because citizens were on-hand to protect them instead or being ordered away? More often than emergency officials would like to admit, I think. I’d rather attend to the problems presented by obstinate citizens who refuse to evacuate for no good reason at all than to cede this power to local officials needlessly.

Second, the Senate shot down SB2149 introduced by a group of higher ed-friendly legislators aimed at gutting the state auditor’s ability to conduct performance audits. There has been friction between the university system and the auditor’s office in recent years. Remember that it was the state auditor’s office who refused to comply with requests from the State Board of Higher Education that a review of Dickinson State be limited in scope. That audit eventually uncovered the rampant diploma fraud going on that the university. The auditors also caught NDSU and UND misusing student fees last year too. This was clearly payback for the auditor from the higher ed system and their legislative allies, and I’m glad to see it was voted down by a 12 – 32 vote.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Guest

    Who are the 12 who voted for it?

  • Roy_Bean

    HB 1120 passed 84-5 to allow any small town mayor to declare an emergency and evacuate the town. What the hell good does it do to elect Republicans when they pass crap like this?

    • Kevin Flanagan

      There are very few Republicans left in this state; I had no one to vote for on the state ballot in the last election.

  • Lianne


    Bowman; Flakoll; Grindberg; Hogue; Holmberg; Klein; Larsen; Lee, J.; Mathern;

    O’Connell; Robinson; Sinner

    • Guest

      Thank you. I am surprised Hogue and Larsen voted for this. I am disappointed with O’Connell and Bowman. To be expected from the rest of them.

      • Lianne

        I am disappointed with Hogue’s vote. He is from my district. I am surprised with Larsen’s and O’Connell’s vote. I am not familiar with Bowman, but the rest did as one would expect. O’Connell is generally more conservative than most republicans we have in office.

        The mandatory evacuation in Minot in 2011 reduced our prep time by about 24 hours before we had water near our street. We could have saved much more. Whether we would have elected to stay to fight the water that time, I really don’t believe so, but we sure could have reduced the loss of home items had we not had the mandatory evacuation. We would not have expected assistance from anyone.

        In 69 we were assisting people with removal of personal items and walking in water up to our knees. We parked our cars on higher ground and when we were done moving stuff, we walked out.
        There were those on 6th St who were taken out by boat in the middle of the night because the water rose rapidly.

    • NDConservative2011

      Yes Lianne, those are the “Dirty Dozen” who voted for the bill, but also take a look at the bill sponsors: Senators Judy Lee, Grindberg, Klein & Robinson as well as Representatives Kathy Hawken and Lois Delmore.
      Yes Indeed, politics does make for strange bedfellows does it not?
      Liberal RINOs and liberal Democrats in bed together.
      Let’s make sure at election time that the general public is made aware of the actions of these legislators and their attempts to protect higher ed at any and all costs incoluding hiding irregulatities from the citizens.

      • Lianne

        I am very familiar with Hawken and her very liberal votes. I guess she hails from a very liberal community.

        From whiat I have seen this year, my own senator Mr. Hogue is leaning to the left.
        Guest had asked who voted for it. I presented the list of yeses. Not that I support them, by any stretch of the imagination!

  • jimmypop

    “I’d rather attend to the problems presented by obstinate citizens who refuse to evacuate for no good reason at all than to cede this power to local officials needlessly.”

    if by this you mean; let them stay at their own risk and bill them at cost if they need rescue, i agree. if you mean risk the lives of public servants and spend heaps of public money to rescue a granny that wanted to protect her tea pots, youre 100% wrong.

  • flamemeister

    Mandatory evacuation can be a mighty multi-purpose tool in the back pocket of the government.

  • Matthew Hawkins

    As proponents of limited government why are you opposed to local control of evacuations. Shouldn’t the mayor and city council be more knowledgeable about the area than the governor?

    But the truth is you idiots think that nobody should force you to evacuate, but I am damn sure you would expect a rescue if things went bad. You are arrogant enough to fight against taxes but expect first responders to rescue you ass.

    We have limited first responders. By staying where you are ordered not to be all you do is take those responders from where they are needed. Often at the expense of others lives.

    Your lucky I don’t right the laws. First one out of the box would be, anybody who defies an evacuation loses their insurance. Every insurance company would support that.

    • Marcus

      Yes, we are lucky that you don’t write the laws.

      Based upon a post full of personal bias and denigrating comments, laced with bravado, underscores a lack of reasonable thought process.

      That same lack of thought process, without limits and definitions in this bill could leave North Dakotan’s at the mercy of the least capable local officials caught up in hysterical group-think or the real-time resources to carry out the task.

      Too many political appeasers in the world feeding the crocodile in hopes that they’ll be eaten last.

    • Shadowwalker

      Lets us look at this as a pro-choice issue shall we. It is a persons body to do with as they chose isn’t it? It is not for me or you to say what that person does with their body and a human possibly could die as a result of this choice. I think that this isn’t a limited government issue as much as a pro-choice issue. It is my body. It is my property. I think that I should have the “choice” to decide what to do with each. As for rescuing as idiot. Charge them or leave them I don’t really care.

  • shadowwalker

    Just what exactly are the limits to this bill. I gave it a quick read and didn’t find anything that would limit the local official or define an emergency. Am I missing something here or did they just give a blank check to some local official to make people leave their homes without putting any limits or definitions to this sorry excuse of a law?

  • cylde

    You can be sure that the same bill in one form, title, or another will be reintroduced every year until they sneak it through.