Round Up: The Dumbest Bills Passed By North Dakota’s Legislature That You Probably Didn’t Hear About
North Dakota’s recently-concluded legislative session is leaving a lot of conservatives frustrated for a lot of reasons.
The budgets passed will keep the irresponsible level of growth in spending in this state going for the next two years. By the time the coming biennium is over, the state will have grown spending by 125% over the last decade. The legislature also shot down transparency bills that would have made spending more accountable. They shot down laws which would have protected the state from unconstitutional federal regulation and the Obamacare bill. They killed reforms that would have put the state’s pension systems for teachers and public workers on a sustainable path and instead chose to pour more money into the pensions.
But those were just the big, spotlight items. There were a lot of bills that flew under the radar into law without many in the public even noticing. Here’s a round-up of a few of them.
All of these bills have been signed into law by Governor Jack Dalrymple:
SB2258 – Child Support Database: This bill requires North Dakota’s Child Support Enforcement agency to create a database of parents who are behind on their child support payments and make that database accessible by the public. Keep in mind that these parents are already subject to having their wages/tax refunds garnished, their hunting and/or drivers licenses suspended and arrest/imprisonment for not paying their child support. Now we’re going to put them into a virtual stockade too in front of the whole public? Keep in mind, also, that non-custodial parents who are paying child support cannot ask the state to enforce court-ordered visitation schedules. They can be put in jail and humiliated publicly for non-payment of child support, but if the other parent refuses to abide by a visitation schedule the only recourse they have is to hire a lawyer out of their own pocket and go back to a court system that, as any honest observer can attest, is tilted against them.
I think non-custodial parents should pay child support. But we’ve gone overboard on enforcement. Of course, for every dollar of child support the state collects they get roughly $0.66 in funding from the federal government, so they have all the incentive in the world to attack child support obligor but no real incentive to assure that the other parent is holding up his/her side of the bargain.
SB2259 – Cold Medicine Purchase Database: This bill requires retailers to report sales of cold medicines, the sort used in the manufacture of meth, to a state-run law enforcement database. This means that while the cops can get in trouble if they ask someone whether or not they’re a legal citizen, if you buy a box of Sudafed to treat your head cold you’re going to end up in a government database. And so goes the war on drugs, which in case you haven’t noticed has yet to put a dent in the availability, sale and/or use of drugs.
SB2278 – Automatic University Spam Opt-In: This bill requires every high school in the state (even the private ones) to provide a database of sophomores and juniors to the North Dakota University System by April 15th every year so that these students can be targeted for recruitment by the universities. Note that there are laws against private companies calling and/or emailing people to solicit their business without first having those people opt-in for such contacts. But I guess when the government does it it’s different or something.
HB1156 – Exempting 911 Calls From Public Record: Not only did North Dakota’s legislators vote down efforts to make the state’s spending more transparent, but they actually voted to make law enforcement and emergency responders less accountable by sealing 911 records. As a result, it will now be harder than ever to prove instances of domestic violence (as one example) because these 911 calls are no longer public record.
HB1097 – Flag Regulations: This bill requires that all state flags purchased by the state (and the various political subdivisions therein) adhere to standards set out by the State Historical Society. Because there is nothing too trivial for the government to regulate.
HB1063 – Stick It To The Barbers Act: This bill raises the fee for applying to open a barbershop from $50 to $100. The cost of an annual barbershop license increases from $35 to $50. Renewal of a master barber’s certificate is goes up from $50 to $100. North Dakota is awash in tax revenues, but hey why not stick it to the barbers?
HB1125, HB1165, SB2309 – Obamacare Mixed Messages: HB1165 states that North Dakotans cannot be forced by law to purchase a certain health insurance policy or any policy at all, thus essentially nullifying Obamacare’s health insurance mandate. SB2309 expresses the sense of the state legislature that Obamacare isn’t constituitonal. But HB1125 orders the state Insurance Commissioner to administer and enforce Obamacare within the state of North Dakota. Mixed messages? You betcha.
HB1346 – North Dakota’s New Latin Motto: “Serit ut alteri saeclo prosit,” or, “One sows for the benefit of another age,” is now North Dakota’s Latin motto. Because, you know, we needed one.
We’re taking nominations for other stupid bills in the comments.Tags: legislature, North Dakota News