Shaw: More lunacy in the North Dakota Legislature

"These bills show an incredible lack of common sense and would damage this state," columnist Jim Shaw writes of several proposals currently in the North Dakota Legislature.

Jim Shaw
Jim Shaw

Here we are more than halfway through the North Dakota legislative session, and I still haven’t been able to get to most of the dozens of asinine and dangerous bills the Republicans have introduced. So, here are several that are so horrible, they can’t be overlooked anymore.

Let’s make the highways more dangerous. A House bill increases the state speed limit to 80 miles per hour, which we all know means 85. Why does anyone need to go 85 miles per hour? This will lead to more deaths and serious injuries on our highways. This is especially true in a state with brutal driving conditions for six months, ridiculously low speeding fines, and a lame seat belt law.

Let’s keep women in their places. There’s a bill by Rep. Eric Murphy that would impose criminal penalties against those who make false allegations of sexual harassment or discrimination. This would have a chilling effect on women who have been mistreated. Many will be afraid to complain. In an amazing coincidence, Murphy was accused of misconduct by a female colleague and was cleared.

Too bad if you get COVID. A House bill overwhelmingly passed that prevents schools from requiring students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This includes elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities. Nothing says education like denying science. To some lawmakers, getting a COVID-19 vaccine is more dangerous than easy access to guns. Only in North Dakota.

Who cares about rape? Women who have been raped would be prevented from getting an abortion unless the rape happened within six weeks of conception. Of course, many women have no idea they are even pregnant within six weeks. Also, how can women prove they are raped within a few weeks? Women who have already been traumatized by being raped will be further traumatized by being forced to have the rapist’s baby.


An attack against ballot measures. This bill shamefully prevents scrutiny of the Secretary of State’s Office if he throws out a ballot measure.

An attack against higher education. This bill would overhaul the tenure system for professors, which would further weaken the state’s universities and scare good professors away.

Undermining the public schools by giving vouchers to those who attend private schools. Taxpayers should not be financially supporting private schools.

These bills show an incredible lack of common sense and would damage this state. As the saying goes, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

I am so sorry to hear of the recent passing of former longtime Forum reporter Ellen Crawford, and broadcaster and former UND hockey player Travis Dunn. Ellen and I covered dozens of Fargo School Board meetings together when I worked for WDAY-TV. She was an excellent writer, very thorough, and kept me on my toes. Ellen was also easy-going and warmhearted.

I didn’t know Travis well, but I knew him well enough to say he was very friendly and kind. We had a wonderful conversation just five days before he died.

Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.


Opinion by Jim Shaw
InForum columnist Jim Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.
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