ND Legislature Hall Of Shame Week 7: Rep. Mike Nathe


I’m a little late getting to this week’s Hall of Shame inductee thanks to a rough trip back from Phoenix where I was attending a conference over the weekend. The weather was really, really bad in Denver but thankfully my flight was one of the few to get out, though not without some delays and tense moments.

Anyway, let’s get down to it. Politics is a business where passionate people come together to settle controversial issues. Which means that it can often be a nasty business which boils over into personal attacks. That happened on the floor of the House last week with Rep. Mike Nathe, while debating a bill to require a warrant from law enforcement before using drone surveillance in a criminal investigation, calling the bill “anti-law enforcement” and suggesting its supporters are part of the “black helicopter crowd.”

Rep. Nathe doesn’t feel that the drone bill is necessary. He feels it’s insulting to law enforcement and unnecessary. Maybe that’s true, but skepticism toward police powers has served this country pretty well. That’s why our founders endowed our society with the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments. Law enforcement agents are given huge amounts of power, and while nearly all law enforcement officers are good people with good intentions there are bad actors out there. And even good cops with good intentions can get overzealous in the pursuit of crime.

That’s why we have limitations and checks on police power. That’s why we have laws that protect our privacy and our right to due process. Is the drone bill good policy? We can, and are, having a statewide debate about that. But does asking that question make one anti-law enforcement, or a member of the black helicopter crowd?

I don’t think so. Rep. Nathe let his emotions get the better of him on the floor of the House. That’s forgivable, but still noteworthy as this issue deserves a better sort of debate.

I’m told that Rep. Nathe and the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rick Becker, have apologized to one another (Becker, it should be noted, got in a good jab of his own at Nathe toward the end of the floor debate).

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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  • Hal801

    I watched the entire clip Rob posted and I could not agree more.

    Rep. Nathe either doesn’t understand what this bill is about or he is trying to provide cover for the “big brother” crowd.

    Rep. Becker is at the forefront of legislative action where government officials need to develop reasonable limits on these technologies and their uses against Americans before it’s too engrained in our society to reverse. I’m sure Rep. Nathe wouldn’t like a drone following him 24/7, providing a play by play of his life to be exposed at the most inopportune time. Remember, these technologies are in their infancy. In 10 years, most of what is flying now will be totally obsolete.

  • cylde

    The black helicopter term was coined before drones were common, but both have the same capabilities for surveillance and being armed. The term was coined as derogatory about imaginary aerial vehicles. They are not a figment of a feverish mind. No, i do not trust any government, history reports that they are not to be trusted.

  • Mike Peterson

    I guess the entire state of Virginia, home of the CIA , is “part of the black helicopter crowd” too, then for BANNING drones?

  • camsaure

    Nathe is just another hack for the progressives.

    • http://sayanything.flywheelsites.com Rob

      No, he’s not. That’s not a fair characterization of him at all. He’s a good legislator, even if he was wrong in these statements.

      • camsaure

        Sorry Rob, That kills it for me. I cannot and will not support anyone who is willing to take away ANY of my freedoms.

        • Ray Seltz

          you can’t just go off and do want you want. Obey our laws and you have nothing to worry about. Our laws aren’t as bad as the libruls and right wing wacks make them out to be.

          • camsaure

            Well, that’s a very excellent demonstration of your ignorance. I get what you are saying, i’m supposed to just shut up and be a good little commie like you are. Well no thanks, maybe you should move to Cuba or Venezuala, you should fell right at home with their tyranny.

  • Lynn Bergman

    A drone the size of a hummingbird can look into your window or even fly into your house through any opening. Not something we should wait to happen before passing legislation that reminds law enforcement that a warrant is required to do so.

  • two_amber_lamps

    For all the bureaucratic BS that it would probably take to get a drone over somebody’s house, is it really that difficult to get a judge’s signature on a warrant too?