ND House Votes To Keep In Place Unenforceable Law

danruby

Perhaps the most interesting debate in the legislature today was over a bill that would have repealed the state’s regulation of tanning.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.

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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. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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