Bill Seeks To Dissolve State Boards That Haven't Met In More Than Two Years


Did you know that the State of North Dakota has at least 144 official boards and commissions? I’m not joking. That’s the number listed on Governor’s Office website, and there are probably a great deal more. They encompass everything from the Beef Commission to the Dairy Board to boards overseeing cosmetologists and barbers.

But how many of them are actually, you know, doing stuff? That’s what legislation introduced by a Rep. Ben Hanson, a Democrat from Fargo, seeks to find out. HB1361 would require legislative review of these boards and commissions and require that any boards which haven’t met for more than two years be flagged for dissolution:


You’d think that a board or committee which hasn’t met in two years would pretty obviously be something that should be closed down without the need for legislative action, but apparently that’s not the case.

Which is emblematic of big government, is it not?

“No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size,” Ronald Reagan said in 1964. “So governments’ programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.”

What’s remarkable is that this legislation is originating with Democrats. In addition to Hanson, the legislation is co-sponsored by Senator Tyler Axness (D-Fargo) in the Senate, though there are four Republican co-sponsors. Still, in a state dominated by Republicans, you have to wonder if this sort of thing isn’t a way for Democrats to get some traction.

If the Dems can’t win by going to the left of Republicans, maybe they can win by going to the right.

The bill will get a hearing before the Political Subdivisions Committee later this week.