Letter: North Dakota legislators need to check this 'We know what’s best for you' attitude
Clarence F. "Rick" Olson writes, "Some of what's going on this session is making North Dakota look ridiculous to the rest of our nation."
North Dakota lawmakers are racing towards the half-way mark of the current legislative session in Bismarck. What they call the "crossover."
That is the point of the session where every bill and resolution must have been passed or defeated in the house of origin. In the second half of the 80-day session, the House will take up all Senate bills that were passed, and the Senate will take up all House bills that were passed and the process starts over again.
There have been many ridiculous bills come up this session. Quite frankly, as they do each session. Too many to name individually. Many legislators seem to have the mindset that they know what's best for the people of our state.
Those of you who know me know that it takes a lot for me to criticize anything or anyone. However, the bills that would ban certain books and would forbid the COVID-19 vaccine from being administered in North Dakota are just the tips of the iceberg.
For the record, I am acquainted with several North Dakota's current legislators. It should be noted that I am not aiming this criticism towards any one particular legislator or legislators. I am hopeful that these people can accept what I intend as constructive criticism and know I'm not referring to them personally whatsoever. They've been entrusted by their constituents to represent them as best as they can.
I realize that since the Legislature only convenes every other year; that there will be any number of subjects that can come up for discussion. As a citizen Legislature, all of the members are very part time, and nearly all of them have full-time careers and jobs outside of their legislative duties. I realize that the Legislature is set up as to where most anything imaginable can be proposed as a bill, which will get a full vetting and consideration.
But, enough of this "We know what's best for you" attitude among legislators! I hope Gov. Doug Burgum is ready to wield his veto on some of these ridiculous bills if they pass in both houses and go to the governor for approval or rejection by veto. Some of what's going on this session is making North Dakota look ridiculous to the rest of our nation.
This is why we need a setup like South Dakota, where bills cross over and are taken up immediately by the other house, rather than waiting for the "crossover recess." This way, the governor can consider most of the bills that pass while the Legislature is still in session. Because, if he vetoes a bill after a session adjourns sine die, lawmakers can't consider an override.
Olson, of Fargo, is an occasional contributor to The Forum’s commentary and opinion pages. E-mail him at: email@example.com .
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.