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House balks on cold pill ID proposal

BISMARCK - The House balked Friday at accepting the attorney general's request to have all buyers of pseudoephedrine-containing cold pills show photo identification to retailers to keep written records of who makes purchases.

BISMARCK - The House balked Friday at accepting the attorney general's request to have all buyers of pseudoephedrine-containing cold pills show photo identification to retailers to keep written records of who makes purchases.

It's part of a Senate amendment to House Bill 1346, which sets some restrictions on the sale of the cold pills, whose main ingredient is used to make the illegal stimulant methamphetamine.

"What are the merchants going to do with this list of names?" asked Rep. Lawrence Klemin, R-Bismarck, quoting constituents who have called him and asked. Some families use a lot of the drug for allergies, he said. 'It (the bill) doesn't say what is to be done with this. It doesn't say if it's confidential or not."

He said the lists would be useless to law enforcement, who could not possibly go around to all the retail stores in the state, checking for names and trying to match them to meth "cookers."

'We're infringing on the vast majority of our law-abiding citizens who are buying these over-the-counter drugs for legitimate purposes," he said.

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There ought to be a requirement in the law to offer protection to people who have to give their names and are doing nothing wrong, he said.

Rep. Bette Grande, R-Fargo, also wanted the bill to go to a conference committee so House members could find out what the plan or purpose is of compiling lists of customers' names. She said the House's original bill, which made other restrictions on selling the pills, was a good bill.

Rep. Tom Brusegaard, R-Gilby, said the law would be an "onerous burden" on mom-and-pop stores.

Rep. Duane DeKrey, R-Pettibone, said the House should adopt the Senate's amendment. The identification and requirement to have your name logged is already done, he said:

"This isn't any different than a store where you buy your ammunition ... and it hasn't been a problem for anyone."

He said it is "responsible and urgent" to adopt the Senate amendments.

The House voted to reject the Senate amendments and appointed a conference committee.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Janell Cole at (701) 224-0830

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