Rob Port's Law: Bills Named After People Should Require A Supermajority To Pass


The North Dakota legislature is getting its first bill named after someone this session, courtesy of Rep. Jessica Haak (D-Al Carlson Is A Nazi).

Back in 2013, writing about another named law, I proposed “Rob Port’s Law” which would immediately require a supermajority vote to pass any law named after someone.

Perhaps we could add in, too, any law that is “for the children” according to its supporters. Or any law that is touted by a legislator who surrounds himself/herself with children while advocating for the law.

Such tactics are manipulative. They’re an attempt to cloud logic and facts with emotion, to use children as human shields for any criticism of the proposed policy, and rarely is good policy made on the basis of how we feel rather than what we think.

So what is Rep. Haak proposing? “The bill adds unauthorized GPS and electronic device tracking as a crime under North Dakota’s current anti-stalking law,” reads a blog posting by legislative Democrats.

Why is it being called Jackie’s Law?

“HB 1321 receives its name in honor of Jacqueline Wisniewski of New York, whose surgeon ex-boyfriend stalked and killed her in 2012 after placing a GPS device in her car and purse,” the posting reads.

Honestly, it seems like naming the law is more about Rep. Haak grandstanding than honoring any particular victim.

“I was appalled to learn that this action alone was not illegal. It’s our responsibility as lawmakers to ensure survivors of domestic violence and stalking are given piece of mind,” Haak is quoted as saying in the posting. “As technology evolves, we must also evolve in order to provide victims with necessary protections.”

I suppose that’s true, but I’m not sure the law is necessary. Here’s the change it makes to the law (read the full bill here).



I find it hard to believe that law enforcement and the courts aren’t already defining GPS tracking as following, but whatever.

This is a minor change to the law that will likely have little impact. But the law itself should be debated and passed or defeated on its merits. Not on which victim some politician like Rep. Haak has branded it with.