ND House Votes To Keep In Place Unenforceable Law


Perhaps the most interesting debate in the legislature today was over a bill that would have repealed the state’s regulation of tanning. The bill was HB1188 introduced by Rep. Dan Ruby, who argued that current laws regulating the amount of tanning a North Dakotan can do are unenforceable.

Rep. Ruby believes, rightly, that whatever your opinion about tanning the state ought not have on the books a law the state can’t enforce. As evidence of the absurdity of the law, Rep. Ruby noted that the state has just one full time employee stationed in Bismarck that is somehow supposed to regulate the tanning practices of citizens across the state.

Unfortunately the bill failed after testimony from legislators in favor of keeping it who argued that, while the bill pretty much can’t be enforced, it should be kept anyway because skin cancer is bad or something. The vote was 32-60, and you can see who voted which way at the end of the video.

The tanning issue is not something that probably grabs a lot of people’s attention. I’m not sure how en vogue tanning is these days, and I doubt many people cared about this bill one way or another. But it is a microcosm, I think, for the problems with excessive government where laws that aren’t actually accomplishing anything are left on the books just because.

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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  • camsaure

    What are they going to try to do next? Regulate the amount of sunshine, or even worse, how long you can be in the sun? Talk about nanny state.

  • RCND

    Why are we even regulating this?

  • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com Goon

    What the heck is this? Don’t they have better things to do than this?

    • The Fighting Czech

      Its either stupid laws like this, or else play spider solitaire all day!!!
      Id like to save a list of all these stupid laws they pass, and present them to these guys on the last day when they say they need longer sessions. and then ask them for an explanation. Actually I suppose the Governor could do it as well, but Im pretty sure he wouldnt see a problem with this.

      • two_amber_lamps

        I’d prefer they play spider solitaire… probably do less damage that way.

  • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

    Tanning-booths and the sun are both carcinogenic. The sun is much worse. It is a major contributing factor to climate change, to periodic drought, sunstroke, dehydration, ocular damage, fading of colors, deterioration of materials, widespread electromagnetic interference, and automobile accidents. It is completely unregulated.

  • Roy_Bean

    At least now the mayor can declare a tanning emergency and call for a mandatory evacuation of the tanning salon.

  • Bman

    Talk about a racist bill directed towards caucasians…

  • cylde

    Obamacare has a special tax on tanning salons and that is what they consider important not the health effects. We had to pass it to find out what was in it. It is of course a racist law because only white people use tanning salons. Suppose they put a special tax on hair straighteners for an equivalent.

  • ec99

    Once government takes control of something, even as prosaic as tanning beds, when has it ever surrendered it?

  • Drain52

    A microcosm indeed, of our insatiable nanny state. CS Lewis got it right. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive…”

  • Lianne

    I wonder if there will be an attempt to change just 23-39-05.j next session. Maybe that will have an easier time of being passed.