The North Dakota legislative session is finally over. Thank goodness. Throughout the session there were many bills and comments that were crazy, foolish or mean. So, with steep competition, it’s time to hand out the 2021 North Dakota Legislative Dubious Achievement Awards.
- The Moronavirus Award: To former Rep. Luke Simons, R-Dickinson and Rep. Jeff Hoverson, R-Minot. In addition to his pattern of sexual harassment, Simons told a female legislator to “F*** off, “ and “You’re not my f****** mother,” when asked to put on his mask, which was required. Hoverson pushed for legislation to ban state and local governments from imposing mask mandates that would save lives.
- The Bobby Riggs Male Chauvinist Award: To Sen. David Clemens, R-West Fargo, for pushing for legislation to rescind North Dakota’s ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
- The Biff Tannen Bullying Award: To Rep. Ben Koppelman, R-West Fargo, for pushing for legislation to ban transgender students from participating in sports under their identifying gender.
- The I’m Against Abortion, Except When I’m Not Award: To Sen. Janne Myrdal, R-Edinburg, an anti-abortion activist, who pushed for legislation to kill a college educational program designed to prevent unwanted pregnancies and abortions.
- The Brian Kemp Voter Suppression Award: To Rep. Jim Kasper, R-Fargo, for pushing for legislation that would shorten the early voting period by six days.
- The Sour Grapes Award: To Rep. Steve Vetter, R-Grand Forks. In December, two University of North Dakota police officers gave Vetter a ticket for making an illegal turn. Vetter was unable to show proof of insurance or registration, and angrily told the officers, “Are you f’ing kidding me. You guys have nothing better to do.” So, Vetter pushed for legislation that would limit the jurisdiction of UND police officers.
- The Don’t Get Pregnant Or Sick Award: To Sen. Doug Larsen, R-Mandan, who argued against studying paid family leave for workers with a medical crisis or a new child, by saying, “The problem doesn’t seem to be there.”
- The John "Bluto" Blutarsky 0.0 Grade-Point Average Award: To Rep. Kathy Skroch, R-Lidgerwood, who participated in a bill signing ceremony for a bill she voted against.
- The Funeral Homes Award: To Jeff Magrum, R-Hazelton, for pushing for legislation that would remove the requirement for North Dakota drivers and passengers to wear seat belts. Magrum said, “We can all agree that seat belts are good, but so is freedom.” Yes, the freedom to kill yourself in a car accident.
- The Chef Boyardee Award: To Rep. Keith Kempenich, R-Bowman, for pushing for legislation where North Dakota taxpayers would pay $424,000 so Kempenich and fellow legislators could receive free meals. Kempenich complained that he used to get free dinners from lobbyists, but now he has to eat spaghetti out of a can. Oh, the humanity!
Something tells me that most of these winners will be strong candidates to receive the 2023 North Dakota Legislative Dubious Achievement Awards.
Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.