Yesterday, we published an article explaining that though Senate Bill 2060 had been defeated the day before, it was likely to be reconsidered. This bill proposes making North Dakota’s seat belt law a primary offense. The possibility of reconsideration was due to the fact that the only Senator absent from the vote was Scott Meyer (R – District 18), who also happens to be one of the bill’s sponsors. And interestingly enough, the bill failed on a 23-23 vote. As expected, when the Senate convened yesterday afternoon, they brought the bill up on reconsideration. And after a floor amendment failed, the bill passed 24-23.
Perhaps the most insulting moment in yesterday’s floor debate came when Senator Brad Bekkedahl (R – District 1) likened some North Dakotans to children:
“I think back to my childhood and the things my parents would tell me not to do in my life. And I didn’t like being told not to do those things in my life. But I realize now that they did that for me, because they loved and cared for me. Sometimes I think we should take that stance as well.”
I couldn’t help but wonder how his colleague in the Senate, Howard Anderson (R – District 8), felt about that comment. Not only is Anderson senior in age to Bekkedahl, but he had risen in opposition to the bill earlier in the debate and expressed that he had been wearing his seat belt less in protest to the bill. Anderson also shared three personal experiences in which he knew people who had been killed because they were wearing their seat belts.
The future regarding whether North Dakotans can be pulled over — and fined — for simply not wearing their seat belts will now rest in the hands of the House. If that body passes it, there’s a snowball’s chance in Hell of Governor Doug Burgum vetoing the bill.
Those old enough to remember when mandatory seat belt laws and secondary enforcement came along will also remember that supporters of such laws promised that they would never become a matter of primary enforcement. Well, so much for that. Figuratively speaking, this is a perfect example of why it’s best to keep the camel’s nose out of the tent.
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If you’d like to read an excellent article on the subject of seat belts, I highly recommend “The Fraud of Seat-Belt Laws“.