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Horowitz: North Dakota House passes bill blocking localities, schools from mandating masks

Why did God give Republicans an 80-14 majority in the North Dakota House? Because with so many liberal Republicans, they need every last one just to get a majority behind the right to breathe freely without government criminalizing our breath with medieval superstitious rituals, such as mandated covering with a Chinese face burka.

The bad news is that 30 Republicans voted to allow localities to mandate mask-wearing. The good news is that Republicans still had a 50-44 majority to pass a new law barring local governments from criminalizing human breathing and appearance without a mask.

H.B. 1323, sponsored by Reps. Jeff Hoverson and Jeffrey Magrum, would prohibit a state or local elected official from forcing an individual to use a face covering or make such a covering a condition for entry, education, employment, or services. This bill would presumably bar local school boards from forcing children in school to wear masks.

This bill is very important, because even though 12 states currently don’t have a statewide mask mandate, many localities still require them, and it’s almost impossible to find a school district that doesn’t mandate them on children, despite the evidence against both the efficacy of masks and the threat of children spreading the virus.

The bill was given a “do not pass” recommendation by a 9-5 vote in the political subdivisions committee, but in North Dakota, every bill still gets a vote on the floor. It appears that some of those members understood that they were being watched. House Speaker Kim Koppelman, assistant majority leader Scott Louser, and caucus leader Glenn Bosch all voted for the bill.

The bill now moves on to the Senate, where it’s sponsored by Sen. Oley Larsen and will likely get a hearing next month. The chairman of the Senate Political Subdivisions Committee happens also to be the Senate president pro tempore, Randy Burckhard. Republicans have a 40-7 majority in that chamber, but many are known to be somewhat liberal, so conservatives will have to work this vote hard if they want it to pass it.

Gov. Doug Burgum has declined to comment on the mask bill. He implemented a mask mandate on Nov. 14, but allowed it to expire on Jan. 18. As in every other state, there was zero evidence of any efficacy of that mandate. North Dakota suffered from a sharp winter curve because the state had little prevalence of the virus and therefore weak immunity headed into the fall surge. The virus rose and fell with the collapse of the winter curve everywhere else, and the relaxation of the mandate has not stopped the decline.

Despite South Dakota never having a mask mandate and having fewer restrictions than North Dakota, South Dakota actually had slightly fewer cases.

The northern latitude states out West seemed to have the exact same curve, despite different responses and varying population densities.

Clearly, the mask-wearing is a charade and, as the FDA says on its website until this very day, does not work for airborne-transmitted viruses, only to “block large-particle droplets, splashes, sprays, or splatter,” which is not the primary transmission method of the virus. The FDA also says, “Surgical masks are not intended to be used more than once,” guidance rarely abided by as a result of the mask mandate.

Montana’s House of Representatives recently passed a similar bill, HB 257, which would block localities from implementing this inhumane mandate among other restrictions on businesses. That bill passed by a much larger margin, 66-34, because only one Republican voted against it.

Generally speaking, Republican legislators across the country have been shockingly tepid about repealing these mandates, despite the lack of evidence of their efficacy and the moving of the goal posts that are now threatening to continue this inhumane mandate indefinitely. Will the North Dakota bill serve as a turning point?

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Horowitz: North Dakota House votes to block all existing and future unconstitutional federal policies

On Wednesday, North Dakota took another step toward becoming a constitutional sanctuary to protect individual rights from federal encroachments. The question now is whether Governor Doug Burgum will put the bill over the top.

By a vote of 51-43, the North Dakota House passed HB 1282, which would create a joint committee on nullification to review all federal laws or executive orders that are suspected of violating the Constitution. The committee, which is to be composed of the House and Senate leadership and six members from each body who would serve for two years, would recommend to the legislative body whether to nullify the federal policies based on constitutional violations. Upon the committee’s recommendation, the legislative assembly, by concurrent resolution, shall consider whether to nullify the federal action.

The consequence of this bill is that if the legislative assembly approves the concurrent resolution by a simple majority, all state agencies or political subdivisions of the state and all individuals employed by a state agency or political subdivision of the state are prohibited from enforcing the said federal law, regulation, or executive order.

Under the proposed legislation, the committee may review all existing federal statutes, regulations, and executive orders enacted before the effective date of this proposed law for the purpose of determining constitutionality and shall recommend whether to nullify in its entirety a specific federal statute, regulation, or executive order.

As I mentioned last week, this bill is probably the most important piece of legislation a state can pass given today’s political climate. It’s exactly what our Founders had in mind in the nightmare scenario where the federal government becomes tyrannical and inexorably hostile to the Bill of Rights. For example, if this bill passes, it would likely force a vote in the legislature on the implementation of the CDC’s unconstitutional and inhumane mask mandate on travelers.

You might notice that this bill only passed 51-43, despite Republicans enjoying an 80-14 majority in the House. More than a third of the Republicans voted against it. These were the 43 no votes: Adams; Anderson, B.; Anderson, D.; Anderson, P.; Beltz; Boe; Boschee; Brandenburg; Buffalo; Devlin; Dobervich; Guggisberg; Hager; Hanson; Hatlestad; Ista; Johnson, D.; Karls; Keiser; Klemin; Longmuir; Martinson; Mitskog; Mock; Nathe; Nelson, J.; Nelson, M.; O’Brien; Ostlie; Owens; Pollert; Porter; Richter; Roers Jones; Sanford; Schneider; Schreiber-Beck; Strinden; Thomas; Trottier; Vigesaa; Westlind; and Zubke.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where Republicans enjoy a 40-7 majority. However, there are many liberal Republicans in the Senate, and the governor has yet to endorse the bill. A number of liberal Republicans have bought into the erroneous notion that only courts can decide the constitutionality of issues. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Larry Klemin opposed the bill on the floor, claiming that it isn’t the legislature’s job to determine the constitutionality of a law.

As chairman, Klemin already watered down another similar bill, HB 1164, which I referred to last week. On Thursday, the new “modified” version of HB 1164 passed 79-13 – with all the fake Republicans pretending to support the Constitution. That bill, as modified, would only allow courts to determine the constitutionality of a presidential executive order, rather than the attorney general, as originally drafted.

Here’s the subterfuge we need to watch out for in other states only pretending to pass constitutional sanctuary legislation. What this effectively does is make the bill do the exact same thing as current practice, effectively gutting the entire effort. Thus, the chairman of the committee gets to brag about fighting for the 10th Amendment and standing up to tyranny, while doing absolutely nothing.

Worse, this bill continues to legitimize the myth that, somehow, only the judicial branch can interpret the Constitution. Indeed, each branch of government – both at the state and federal levels – has an obligation to use its respective powers to protect constitutional rights. For example, with Biden’s illegal and unscientific COVID mandates, it is the executive branch of the state that must defend the Constitution and refuse to implement them and the legislative branch that must prohibit and defund them from being implemented.

The judicial branch of government, with very few exceptions, has ignored flagrant violations of the Bill of Rights for 10 months. Fighting Washington at the local level will become a popular campaign issue for state and local politicians in the coming months and years. Perfidious Republicans understand this and plan to misdirect the grassroots energy away from bills that actually have teeth in them and send that force into a black hole.

If states are going to finally fight back against tyranny, it needs to come from the legislature. It’s time for legislators to stop running away from their constitutional obligations to represent the people and to protect their rights.

In a 2017 report, the Congressional Research Service observed that “early history of the United States is replete with examples of all three branches of the federal government playing a role in constitutional interpretation.” Members of Congress weren’t so complacent in their duties and, as the CRS observed, never sat idly allowing the courts to wield “a final or even exclusive role in defining the basic powers and limits of the federal government.” They subscribed to Madison’s view in Federalist #49 that “the several departments being perfectly co-ordinate by the terms of their common commission, neither of them, it is evident, can pretend to an exclusive or superior right of settling the boundaries between their respective powers.” He emphatically believed that “each [department] must in the exercise of its functions be guided by the text of the Constitution according to its own interpretation of it.”

Thankfully, the stronger bill, HB 1282, wound up passing over Chairman Klemin’s objections, but this demonstrates the struggle conservatives have even in red states in getting GOP supermajorities in both houses, not to mention the Republican governors, to work for the constitutional sanctuary movement.

As the legislative sessions reach their peak work weeks, conservatives should make HB 1282 the model bill. Rather than empowering the judiciary or even the executive to have exclusive authority over nullifying unconstitutional federal powers, it places the authority in the hands of the democratically elected legislature. This will force red-state Republicans to either finally stand up and fulfill their campaign promises or reveal to their voters that they are a false opposition to the Left, as over 25 Republicans in North Dakota did this week.

In order to make red states red again, we will have to make state legislatures great again.

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Horowitz: North Dakota legislators introduce bill to block Biden’s illegal executive edicts

“All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for the protection, security and benefit of the people, and they have a right to alter or reform the same whenever the public good may require. ~Sec. 2, North Dakota Declaration of Rights

A group of North Dakota legislators have taken up the call for states to reassert control over the Constitution, as the Biden regime continues to rule by executive fiat, often promulgating unconstitutional orders infringing upon civil rights. This is the key to thwarting a wholesale slide into national despotism and ensuring that there are some places for Americans to go and enjoy the blessings of liberty. The question is whether leaders in those legislative chambers as well as Gov. Doug Burgum will pick up the mantle, not to mention Republicans in other states.

Recently, Rep. Tom Kading and eight other Republicans in the North Dakota House introduced HB 1164, which would task the attorney general with reviewing the constitutionality of the president’s executive orders. If any of his orders are deemed to be unlawful, this bill would prohibit any state or county agency or publicly funded organization from enforcing the edict.

The list of issues covered under the bill are:

  1. Pandemics or other health emergencies.
  2. The regulation of natural resources, including coal and oil.
  3. The regulation of the agriculture industry.
  4. The use of land.
  5. The regulation of the financial sector as it relates to environmental, social, or governance standards.
  6. The regulation of the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Thus, an easy first candidate for such legislation is Biden’s recent mask mandate, which unconstitutionally prohibits humans breathing without cloths on their mouths and noses inside any public transportation, including in-state ride-shares and taxis. The CDC created an entire criminal offense for something that never passed Congress.

What if Congress decides to pass a bill that is unconstitutional? HB 1282, introduced by Rep. Sebastian Ertelt, would take this a step farther by proposing a “Committee on Neutralization of Federal Laws” to recommend whether a given law or regulation is unconstitutional. Upon the recommendation of this committee, consisting of state legislative leadership and their appointees, the legislature would pass a concurrent resolution on whether to nullify the law or edict. Until the resolution is passed, state and county agencies would be prohibited from enforcing the law or regulation at issue.

These bills should serve as a model for all 31 GOP-controlled legislatures, especially in the 23 states where there are also Republican governors. I hear so many conservatives acting despondent and either resigned to tyranny or calling for secession or even a civil war. But the solution implied in these bills would keep the union loosely intact while peacefully maintaining a constitutional sanctuary for those who still value constitutional freedoms. This is the best way to peacefully and gradually separate blue and red America into their respective cultural, economic, and governing choices so we can live together more agreeably as a federal union.

North Dakota Republicans control the Senate 40-7 and the House 80-14. If this were a Democrat state passing a sanctuary bill for illegal aliens, the bill would pass in a day. Given that the rights of American citizens are on the line, Senate leaders Randy Burckhard and Rich Wardner should bring this bill to the Senate floor, and Speaker Kim Koppelman should bring the bill to the House floor immediately. North Dakota has an opportunity to lead the nation in liberty, if only all the Republicans in the state would govern the way they campaign.

Madison predicted in Federalist #46 that a federal encroachment would easily be mitigated by state action, because “the means of opposition to it are powerful and at hand.” What is the winning formula?

The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and, perhaps, refusal to co-operate with the officers of the Union; the frowns of the executive magistracy of the State; the embarrassments created by legislative devices, which would often be added on such occasions, would oppose, in any State, difficulties not to be despised; would form, in a large State, very serious impediments; and where the sentiments of several adjoining States happened to be in unison, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.

In other words, public outrage, state and local officials refusing to enforce it, and correspondence with counterparts in other states together in unison would prevail over federal tyranny.

South Dakota already has a similar bill to HB 1164 targeting Biden’s executive lawmaking. Rep. Aaron Aylward of Harrisburg, South Dakota, introduced HB 1194, which would set up an executive board to review the constitutionality of executive orders pertaining to the six issues laid out in the North Dakota legislation. With a 32-3 majority in the Senate and a 62-8 majority in the House, South Dakota Republicans have the strongest majorities since the Eisenhower era. The Dakotas, as well as many other parts of the country, can easily become constitutional sanctuaries.

Additionally, county commissions, prosecutors, and sheriffs should also seek to criminalize enforcement of unconstitutional edicts at the county level.

Let’s be very clear: The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution subordinates states to follow only laws that are pursuant to the Constitution on issues that were given over to the federal government to determine. However, if the federal government blatantly violates the Constitution, especially in a way that harms individual liberty, even Alexander Hamilton, the great supporter of a powerful national government, said that states should ignore it. “It will not follow from this doctrine that acts of the large society which are NOT PURSUANT to its constitutional powers, but which are invasions of the residuary authorities of the smaller societies, will become the supreme law of the land,” wrote Hamilton in Federalist #33. “These will be merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such.”

Well, if it was good enough for Hamilton, it should be good enough for states with strong Republican majorities in the legislature.

There is no doubt that Biden’s presidency will take a bite out of our economy, especially with his cancelation of the international pipeline going through North Dakota. But if tyranny itself takes root and grows within the boundaries of these solid red states, then we as conservatives have nobody to blame but ourselves and our own complacency.