For the second time in ten days, Rep. Dan Johnston (R – District 24) has a perfect bill. You might recall that on March 8th the North Dakota Senate passed House Bill 1052, which brought clarification to existing homeschool law and provided new opportunities for those wishing to educate their own children. That bill passed without a single dissenting vote from either chamber. Well, today it happened again with House Bill 1058.
We first wrote about HB 1058 back in January. This bill seeks to end a law that’s been on the books for about 75 years and prohibits the idling of unattended vehicles in North Dakota. Yes, it’s true. Under current law, when you leave your vehicle running on that blistery cold day on the Northern Plains, while you sit in the house or do some shopping, you’re breaking the law. And the maximum penalty is a $1,500 fine and 30 days in jail.
Interestingly enough, not only did HB 1058 come out of the Senate Transportation Committee with a 6-0 Do Pass recommendation, but it came out better than it went in. The original bill changed wording to end the prohibition on idling, but a person would have still been required to set the parking brake and turn the wheels to the side of the highway or street. Instead, the committee amended it to remove this section of law in its entirety. The Senate then passed the bill on a 46-0 vote— after a handful of senators considered voting red.
While law enforcement across the state seemingly used common sense and did little — if anything — to enforce the current law, I think the North Dakota Legislature did the right thing by voting unanimously to repeal it. The law was simply pointless.
As a side note, Senator Dale Patten’s (R – District 39) comments in presenting the bill to the Senate are classic. If you have a sense of humor and would like a good chuckle, you can watch here. It’s quite comical as he describes the decades old “crime wave” that’s been occurring as a result of current law and their desire to bring “criminal justice reform” to the situation by passing HB 1058.
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