Resolution Seeks To Study Ways To Make North Dakota More Independent Of The Federal Government


HCR3038 has just been introduced by Rep. Rick Becker, and a group of other legislators, to study ways to move North Dakota towards greater independence from the federal government.

From the resolution:

That the Legislative Management study the statutory and regulatory requirements placed on North Dakota state government agencies by United States government agencies as a condition of the receipt of federal funding to determine whether there are viable options to meet the needs of our state without having the federal government’s oversight and involvement, which state needs can be met if federal funding associated with undesirable regulation or excessive direct and indirect costs are refused, and whether the federal fiscal impact is a significant and necessary factor in assenting to the continuance of federal government involvement in the state’s management processes

This is a major, important initiative for a lot of reasons.

First, let’s not fool around, the federal government is broke. We’ve been adding debt at a $1 trillion/year clip for the last four years, and we’re going to be near that again this year. The less of a burden North Dakota can be on the federal budget, the better. Politicians, like our Governor Jack Dalrymple, are fond of talking about federal funds as though they come at “no cost” to the state. But we’re all federal taxpayers in addition to state taxpayers. The national debt is our problem too.

Second, the more federal money North Dakota takes, the less local control we have over policy in the state. One of the most beautiful things about the American way of government is that we are made up of fifty sovereign states – the “laboratories of democracy” as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called them – where different policies can be enacted (or not enacted) based on the local needs of this large and diverse nation. But the more federal funding gets involved, the more federal strings are attached and the less flexibility we have locally.

We are now at a point where something thoroughly local as what is on the lunch trays of the kids at the local school is a matter of federal policy. That’s insane, and it’s something we ought to be moving away from.

What this resolution intends to do is accumulate data so we can have that debate and, hopefully, enact policies that make North Dakota a more independent state.

On a related note, there is a resolution before legislature already which would study ways to make North Dakota’s education system more independent of the federal government. Here’s my interview with Superintendent Kirsten Baesler about that:

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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  • matthew_bosch

    See Rob’s article about Detroit for why this resolution is necessary.

  • RCND

    This is a great resolution. Even if nothing results from it, we will have a thorough breakdown of how much control the feds have been given over us, and how much we depend on them to maintain the size of our own state government. Becker is on a roll!

  • Roy_Bean

    I can see it now, we can expect any tax refunds to show up around deer season. And that will be after the every Republican in the state gets called in for an IRS audit. This is virtual treason to the democrats.

  • PK

    Would there be a way to pay off North Dakota’s share of the national debt and wash our hands of it before it gets to 20, 30, 50, 100 trillion dollars?

    • WOOF

      Bain Capital is putting together a buyout offering. You’re debt will be paid off and you’ll be Mexican.

  • ec99

    A first good faith step would be if Dalrymple refused his $2.5 million annual ag subsidy.

    • Lynn Bergman

      Last time I checked it was over $8 million over a total of 15 years, not over $1 million in any given year. That said, $1 is too much!

      • ec99

        Well, Lynne, I was basing the figure on the last year the numbers were available. I’m sure poor Dalrymple needs the COLA.

  • DRO

    I recently sat in on a meeting where this topic was discussed by someone who had been looking into this matter. It sure seemed to me that we will all be very surprised by how little we will need to send back to D.C. in order to get our state as free as it can be.