Legislation Introduced Today Addresses Minimum Wage, Divorce Waiting Periods, Drones And Firearm Confiscations


Lots of interesting new bills introduced in the state legislature today. Here’s a run down of a few that caught my eye:

Department of Labor HB1369, introduced by Rep. Kathy Hawken, would re-name North Dakota’s Department of Labor to the Department of Labor and Human Rights. Can you say “mission creep?”

Drones HB1373, introduced by Rep. Rick Becker, would restrict the use of surveillance drones by law enforcement in the state (see my interview with Rep. Becker here). The law would require that law enforcement get a warrant for the use of drones in any sort of a criminal investigation, but would allow drone use without a warrant in exigent circumstances such as weather disasters and child abductions.

Minimum Wage HB1414, introduced by Rep. Steve Zaiser, would create a state minimum wage that would automatically increase along with inflation.

Family Law HB1423, introduced by Rep. Naomi Muscha, would require a six month waiting period for couples seeking to get divorced during which time they’d be required to attend “at least five one-hour counseling sessions” provided by clergy or any licensed counselor. Marriages in which there is evidence of domestic abuse would be exempted.

Federalism HB1428, introduced by Rep. Dave Monson, allows North Dakota to nullify presidential executive orders not approved by Congress:

The state of North Dakota reserves the right to review and, through the legislative assembly, approve or reject any executive order issued by the president of the United States which has not been affirmed by a vote of the United States Congress and signed into law as prescribed by the Constitution of the United States. The legislative management may review and temporarily suspend the implementation in this state of any such executive order not affirmed by the Congress until the legislative assembly, in the next regular or special legislative session, has the opportunity to consider each order referred to it by the legislative management. The legislative assembly may consider for approval or rejection any executive order issued since two calendar years before the effective date of this Act.

Gun Rights HB1467, introduced by Rep. Karen Karls, would prohibit the confiscation of firearms during a declared emergency.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. 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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  • ec99

    ” a six month waiting period for couples seeking to get divorced during which time they’d be required to attend “at least five one-hour counseling sessions” provided by clergy or any licensed counselor.’
    And in cases where said counseling had already been sought to no avail? At any rate, this is yet more overreach. A consistent law would require the same for all before a marriage.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I think the waiting period is a little silly.

      If two citizens want to dissolve their social contract with one another they ought to be able to without restriction by the government.

      • ec99

        I get the mental image of dear Naomi lying awake at night and coming up with bonehead ideas she thinks would be great laws. Be prepared for more nonsense from her.

        • NA

          But look, it was actually Larsen and Sitte’s ideas brought back around this session.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            How about it’s just a bad idea no matter where it came from?

      • NA

        Oley Larson and Margaret Sitte introduced this last session. Can you link your blog post on that one so we can compare your statements now compared to then?

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Sure thing, here’s a quote:

          “I don’t think this bill would accomplish what its well-meaning proponents think it will, and I think it might actually exacerbate our family court problems by giving incentive to false accusations of domestic violence.”


          • Clairvoyant

            Which is like the “legitimate rape” comment.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob


          • Matthew Hawkins

            I don’t agree with Rob often, but I have to say “huh”?

            Back in the day before no-fault divorce spouses would have to find grounds for divorce. The most common ones were abuse and adultery. But if you wanted to fake it and didn’t want to actually beat each other you chose adultery. The way this worked was that the couple would hire a PI in the wife’s name. The husband would check into a fancy hotel that would shine shoes left outside the door. The husband would bring a pair of his shoes and a pair of shoes from a woman he worked with and place them outside the door. The PI would come by and take a picture. The wife would use it in court as evidence, the husband would confess, the judge would wink and a divorce would be granted. If this didn’t work a hooker would be involved.

            The moral of the story is that people will do what it requires to get away from each other.

            If you require an accusation of domestic violence for a divorce you will get several bogus accusations. But these now come with a criminal record and possibly somebody getting punched for evidence.

          • camsaure

            That looks like methods some SLEAZY lawyer would recomend.

          • Matthew Hawkins

            I am in favor of no fault divorces, so I wouldn’t have that problem.

          • ec99

            ” SLEAZY lawyer ”
            Don’t be redundant.

          • NA

            Thank you. I just don’t want Sitte and Larsen to get off the hook on doing this again.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            I never have a problem criticizing Republicans when I think they’re wrong.

      • ec99

        This also has the appearence of an unfunded mandate. Let’s see, 5 hours with a counselor and 100 a pop…

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          No kidding.

          And how many people get divorced every year?

          Big money for counselors.

  • nimrod

    I could agree with half of them; restrict drone surveillance, nullify executive orders not approved by congress, and expand gun rights. The other ones would get a no vote from nimrod.

  • Opinionated

    Ms. Hawker and her department of labor and human rights… That is all we need. Who in the hell elects these people.

    • SusanBeehler

      It already exists, this is just naming it to reflect what it is doing and has been doing.

    • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

      She’s clueless. She just goes to Bismarck to tax as much money from the private sector as she can to funnel to her pals on the government payrolls.

      • opinion8ed

        these people must stay up all night thinking of shit to do and whom to do it for so they can stay in power… we need to remind the voters of these little faux pas..

    • opinion8ed

      no, it would be the Department of Labor.. she is adding the Human Rights part

  • Matthew Hawkins

    Executive orders are not approved by congress, hence the name.

    It’s great when your politicians have no idea how the government works.

    • Lianne

      “Executive orders are not approved by congress, hence the name.”
      It isn’t quite that black and white, Matthew

      • Matthew Hawkins

        It really is. This is just red meat for the masses, designed to inflame conservative paranoia.

        In the recent 23 executive actions signed by Obama please find one that requires any state action. I’ll even expand that please find one ever signed by Obama requiring any state action.

        They are all a list of priorities for executive agencies or instructions on how to enforce laws passed by congress.

        • Lianne

          I am not a lawyer or a judge. I have been doing some reading on and off the internet about Excutive Orders. I will provide this bit that is easiest to add here and summarizes what i have found. I am open to learning more.

          “An executive order is any directive issued by the leader of the executive branch. They are usually used to direct certain tasks or actions to Cabinet members and other executive officers. Some executive orders even have the “force of law” when permissions are given by the Senate or House of Representatives.

          For example, in 2001, both houses of Congress voted to give President Bush emergency powers after the 9/11 attacks. Bush was able to use this power to make executive orders that would allow him to make important decisions regarding the war on terror without a vote from Congress. However, these emergency powers do expire. Despite this, not all executive orders need an approval from Congress.”

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          I love it when you get high and mighty about other people’s supposed ignorance while displaying a heaping helping of your own.

          The intent of the legislation is to head off executive law making. This law will subject executive orders the state fell is policymaking beyond the powers of the executive branch to further review.

          That makes sense given our long history of abuse in this area. FDR’s order mandating the internment of Asian Americans during WWII is just one example of such abuse.

          • Matthew Hawkins

            Show me a recent abuse. This lawmaker did not write this because of FDR, he wrote this because of Obama.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob


            Weren’t you liberals all up in arms about President Bush and his signing statements? Or are you only concerned about the abuse of executive power when we have Republican presidents?

          • Matthew Hawkins

            Signing statements aren’t executive orders. He was using the signing statements so that he could interpret laws clearly different from congress’ meaning.

            I don’t remember any criticism of Bush’s executive orders.

            You yourself have criticized Obama for signing essentially the same executive order that had been on the books for 20 years.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Gosh, you mean I criticized an abuse of power even though it was exercised by both Republicans and Democrats?

            Now principled and non-partisan of me.

            And yes, signing statements are a sort of executive order. They are the president order a specific interpretation of the law for the executive branch.

            But thanks for tacitly admitting you were wrong. You belittled the sponsors of this law for being ignorant, but all they really want is state review authority for executive policies not specifically approved by Congress.

          • Matthew Hawkins

            No, you only criticized it when Obama resigned it after the hysteria of the right wing echo chamber.

            Executive orders are not reviewed by Congrss so this law covers all executive orders.

            Executive orders are orders by the chief executive to members of the executive branch, they don’t require state action.

            Rep Monson has been in the state legislature since 1993. Why is it coming up now? Could it possibly because of the right wing hysteria that Obama is going to use executive orders to confiscate guns?

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Some executive orders overlap with congressional law.

            The executive branch makes many policies which impact the states. The EPA? The Department of the Interior? C’mon, Matthew, you’re smarter than this.

            How do you know Rep. Monson hasn’t introduced similar legislation in the past? I don’t know that he has, but you don’t know either. And maybe he’s bringing this up because he believes some Presidents, whether it’s Obama or any other, abuse their executive powers and that ND needs an extra layer of protection.

            After all, this law wouldn’t expire should Democrats get control of the ND legislature, or if a Republican becomes president.

            Here’s the thing: You got caught showing us all your ignorance about this issue, and now you’re back peddling by making partisan accusations.

            You should think more before you comment.

          • Matthew Hawkins

            I didn’t say that executive orders didn’t impact the state. I said they require no state action. They are orders to the executive agencies and there is nothing for a state to reject.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Now you’re playing word games.

            Orders to executive agencies which, in turn, direct those agencies on policies that impact the states.

            For instance, how Obama’s Department of Justice enforces drug laws is a big deal to states that have legalized marijuana.

            At this point, I’m not even sure you know what point you’re trying to argue.

  • Game

    The ND Department of Labor has overseen Human Rights complaints for a decade. The mission is already well established, and the name change makes sence to explain the total responsibilities of the department.
    While many on your side are against the enforment (And existence) of human rights laws, the name change has nothing to do with the laws or any expansion of them.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      The only “human rights” I have a problem are the “rights” to have other people buy things for you.

      You don’t have a “right” to other people’s property.

      • Game

        I did not say you were against human rights laws, I said some on your side are. Like Ron and Rand Paul for example. They pretty much have said that integration reduced personal liberty and property rights.

        But way to ignore my point that the Dept. of Labor already oversees Human Rights complaints.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          There’s a difference between believing something is morally wrong, and believing it should be illegal.

          The Paul’s, as well as myself, believe in willing buyers…and willing sellers. As much as I detest discrimination, and I think I’ve got a pretty clear track record on supporting things like gay marriage and the like, I don’t think “human rights laws” help. I think they muddy the waters and imperil businesses.

          Better to let the free market solve such problems. And yes, I know you don’t believe the free market can solve such problems, but I simply disagree with you.

          • Game

            How is it a free market place when government allows and encourages discrimination against a segment of the population? How is it free market when the government refuses to provide education (the number one economic development tool in the world) to a segment of the population? How is it a free market and a republic when the government refuses to allow a segment of the population to vote for representation in government? How is it a free market when a segment of the population cannot freely use public or private transportation because of laws against it?

            I believe in the Civil Rights Act because I think government should insure that all citizens have the opportunity to participate in commerce.

            But, on that note, I wish more on your side would come out against the Civil Rights act. I think that is a great way to keep electing people who I am more likely to agree with.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            I’m not sure how we got from business owners making their own decisions, good or bad, to the government encouraging discrimination.

            But I guess attacking the straw man is better than making a coherent argument for your point of view.

            Of course I want everyone treated equally under the law, but that’s not what we’re talking about. We aren’t taking about public services at all.

            I don’t like forcing decisions on people, and I don’t like creating protected classes that are entitled to special treatment.

            I’m for equal opportunity. You’re for mandating equal outcomes.

  • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

    Rep. Kathy Hawken has no idea why anyone in ND has to pay more in state income taxes than federal income taxes, but she has plenty of time for this boiler plate! “Department of Labor HB1369, introduced by Rep. Kathy Hawken, would re-name North Dakota’s Department of Labor to the Department of Labor and Human Rights.”

  • headward

    raising min wage? Does anybody in ND get paid that right now? Why does that guy want those low skilled workers to be unemployed?

  • Hal414

    “Drones HB1373, introduced by Rep. Rick Becker”

    Rep. Rick Becker is starting out very strong. This will be an issue (bipartisan) in every state in the country as drones get smaller, cheaper and more capable. Now is the time for the ND Legislature to set the limits it wants before things get out of hand. There is no reason to wait for the courts to weigh in on this.

    • ec99

      Spy satellites already have enough resolution to count ants on a sidewalk.

      • Hal414

        Then why are we using drones anywhere? There must be some reason they are being used.

        • ec99

          Beacause the Feds won’t give the locals and states access to them.

  • awfulorv

    Regarding the Drones…it makes no sense to have weapons such as this and keep them in the hanger. We must see if the suckers, really,work. Rabbits are too small to practice on, Polar bears are a no, no, deer, wild boars, tigers, and Africans, tend to frequent forested areas, so Middle Easterners make perfect targets. And, hells bells, there’s lots of them available. Glad to be able to clear that up for you.