FARGO — North Dakota’s four month nightmare is ending. The Legislature is adjourning. The Legislature, especially Republicans in the House, has been taken over by extremists. It didn’t used to be that way. Many of the lawmakers are out of touch with reality, and pushed some alarming legislation with Neanderthal thinking. It was a session of double standards and hypocrisy. So …
- Let me get this straight … North Dakota was devastated by the pandemic, then a statewide mask mandate saved hundreds of lives and prevented thousands of infections, so the Legislature voted to ban statewide mask mandates.
- Let me get this straight … The legislators are overwhelmingly anti-abortion, but voted to kill a college sex education program that doesn’t promote abortions, but does prevent unwanted pregnancies and abortions.
- Let me get this straight … The legislators defeated a paid family leave bill, even though legislators have taken paid family leave.
- Let me get this straight … The legislators say they are for equal rights for women, but voted to rescind the state’s ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
- Let me get this straight … House Republicans defeated a primary seat belt law that would have saved dozens of lives. In essence, the legislators voted to approve assisted suicide, because many drivers and passengers will be killing themselves. Meantime, the House defeated a death with dignity bill for people who really are dying and suffering.
- Let me get this straight … The legislators voted to give themselves a pay hike, but refused to raise the state’s lowest in the nation minimum wage.
- Let me get this straight … The courts have repeatedly ruled that posting the Ten Commandments in public schools is unconstitutional, but the legislators voted to authorize public schools to display the Commandments.
- Let me get this straight … The legislators say they are for local control, but they voted to prohibit local governments from approving paid family leave programs, and House Republicans voted to prohibit local governments from approving mask mandates.
- Let me get this straight … The legislators passed legislation that bans transgender high school athletes from playing on teams consistent with their gender identity, even though there’s never been a problem in the state. Meantime, there are dozens of long suffering and traumatized victims of child sexual abuse in the state, and the House defeated three bills to help them.
- Let me get this straight … The vast majority of legislators call themselves pro-life, but they voted against mask mandates and a primary seat belt law.
- Let me get this straight … The legislators receive free family health insurance, worth $17,000 a year, for only working full time for four months over a two year period. Meantime, the lawmakers defeated a bill that would have had insurance companies cover more of the costs of the extremely expensive insulin, that diabetes patients need to stay alive.
North Dakota is one of just four states where the Legislature meets every other year. I used to think it should meet every year. Now, I think every other year is too often.
Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director. Email firstname.lastname@example.org