Shaw: The most insane bill in North Dakota

Columnist Jim Shaw breaks down "the most insane bill" he has ever encountered while covering the North Dakota Legislature.

Jim Shaw
Jim Shaw

The Republicans in the North Dakota Legislature are setting a record this session for the most crazy and mind-boggling bills ever introduced. One piece of legislation is the most insane bill (now a study) I have ever seen in my 40 years of covering the Legislature.

It bans North Dakotans from receiving the vaccination against COVID-19. Even if you wanted or needed it, people would be prevented from receiving this life-saving treatment. Simply astonishing!

The Four Stooges sponsoring this legislation are Sen. Jeff Magrum of Hazelton, Sen. David Clemens of West Fargo, Rep. Scott Dyk of Williston and Rep. Jeff Hoverson of Minot. Magrum, Clemens, Dyk and Hoverson have proven that you don’t have to be intelligent to be elected to the Legislature.

“They are trying to be anti-vaccine dictators,” said Dr. Stephen McDonough, former longtime North Dakota Public Health Officer and pediatrician. “It’s absolutely terrible. It shows how out of touch these senators and representatives are. These are anti-science people who are right-wing extremists and want everyone to conform to their stupidity.”

The sad part is this bill comes as no surprise. For several weeks North Dakota led the world, with the highest death rate from COVID. Weak leadership from elected officials was a major cause of that. This bill follows the idiotic one from the last session, where the ignorant anti-science lawmakers banned mask requirements.


It’s bad enough that people are refusing to be vaccinated, but they have no right to tell us that we can’t. What is the problem they are trying to fix? These phonies are the first to shout “personal freedom” when it comes to wearing masks or seat belts, but apparently it’s OK for the government to take away our choice to get vaccinated.

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“They’re taking their narrow and extreme ideology and trying to force it on the rest of the citizens of the state,” McDonough said.

The Stooges are spreading the lie that many people are dying from the vaccines. Actually, the vaccines are very effective. They have allowed us to resume our normal lives, which didn’t look possible at the height of the pandemic.

What is there to study? “The COVID vaccine has been the most studied vaccine in medical history,” McDonough said. The vaccines have saved a phenomenal 20 million lives in the world. In the U.S., studies show that the vaccines have saved 3.2 million lives and kept 18.5 million people out of the hospital.

Sadly, the coronavirus is still here. More than 500 Americans die every day from the virus. “The COVID virus is here to stay,” McDonough said. “More people will become hospitalized or die if they can’t get the vaccine."

Bills like this make our state a laughingstock. “It’s giving our state a terrible name,” McDonough said. “Good luck in getting people to come to North Dakota.”

He’s right. State leaders foolishly claim that people will move here if we just lower the state’s income tax. With the Legislature’s hostility towards medicine, the LGBTQ community, women, professors, schools and libraries, people won’t come here even if you give them free lots.

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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