It’s not a surprise to those of us here at The Minuteman. We anticipated this would happen. The Administrative Rules Committee voted 9 – 3 today in favor of rules proposed by the North Dakota Department of Health to regulate the state’s Food Freedom Law. Having said that, we didn’t quite expect it to pan out like it did when it came to the vote total.
When we published an article on this topic very early this morning, it was anticipated that the regulations would pass, but only because some of the key votes were on a trip to Puerto Rico for a conference. As it turns out, it wouldn’t have mattered if the missing votes had been there. It wouldn’t have been enough.
When the votes were cast, seven Republicans joined two Democrats in giving the go ahead to the Health Department in usurping power it statutorily doesn’t have. Here are the nine of them:
Senator David Rust (R – District 2)
Senator Randy Lemm (R – District 20)
Senator Jerry Klein (R – District 14)
Senator Joan Heckaman (D – District 23)
Rep. Robin Weisz (R – District 14)
Rep. Bernie Satrom (R – District 12)
Rep. Joshua Boschee (D – District 44)
Senator Nicole Poolman (R – District 7)
Rep. Bill Devlin (R – District 23)
The three who voted to defeat the Health Department’s efforts were:
Rep. Rick Becker (R – District 7)
Rep. Andrew Marschall (R – District 16)
Rep. Vicky Steiner (R – District 37)
Absent members were:
Rep. Kim Koppelman (R – District 13)
Rep. Brandy Pyle (R – District 22)
Rep. Dan Ruby (R – District 38)
Rep. Nathan Toman (R – District 34)
It’s worth noting here that Representatives Boschee and Devlin voted to defeat this regulatory effort when Senate Bill 2269 came through their chamber during the 2019 Legislative Session. But even if they had remained consistent in today’s vote and joined Representatives Becker, Marschall, and Steiner, it still wouldn’t have been enough with the other four missing.
Today was not only a loss for those who support Food Freedom, but it was a vote of complete disrespect for the legislative process. This regulatory effort was handily defeated in the House during the 2019 session. To see the Health Department get their way through the backdoor — known as administrative rules — is despicable.
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