Well, the 2019 North Dakota legislative session is over, and it was a mixed bag. Some very good things came out of Bismarck, as well as some very bad things. With that, it’s time for the legislative awards for those worthy of praise.
- The Protect Our Children Award: For passing a bill that requires child abusers to receive a parental capacity evaluation, a mental health evaluation and an anger management assessment, followed by treatment before they can visit their victims. Up until now, there was nothing to prevent abusers from spending time with the children they beat up. For also passing bills that mandate tougher prison sentences for child abusers, and for improving victim and treatment services in juvenile sexual assault cases.
- The You Can’t Escape Justice Award: For passing a bill that more than doubles the statute of limitations for prosecuting sex crimes against victims less than 18-years-old at the time of the offense.
- The Better Late Than Never Award: For finally passing a bill that allows North Dakota stores to open before noon on Sundays.
- The 20/20 Vision Award: For allocating $50 million for a Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Medora.
- The More People Need Weed Award: For passing a bill that adds 12 medical conditions that qualify for medical marijuana, and allows physician assistants to certify patients.
- The Frozen Tundra Award: For passing a bill that allows North Dakotans to keep their cars running without anyone in the cars, so the cars can stay warm in bitterly cold weather.
- The First Amendment Award: For defeating a clearly unconstitutional bill that would have required public schools to teach about the Bible.
- The George Washington Award: For passing a bill that makes North Dakota the fifth state to officially observe Patriots’ Day as a state holiday.
- The I Won’t Have Another Drink After All Award: For defeating a bill that would have outlawed sobriety checkpoints.
- The Mario Andretti Award: For defeating a bill that would have increased the speed limit on state interstate highways from 80 to 85 miles per hour.
- The Chicken Wing Award: For defeating a bill that would have had North Dakota taxpayers paying for meals of the legislators.
- The Let’s Find Them Award: For passing a bill that creates a missing people database.
- The Let’s Not Raid Our Savings Account Award: For defeating a bill that would have tapped earnings from the Legacy Fund to replace income taxes.
- The Let’s Help People Award: For increasing spending by $600 million for human services.
- The Nobel Peace Prize Award: To Gov. Doug Burgum for ordering the display of Native American flags in the state Capitol.
Next week I'll have the awards for bad decisions.