It was hard to pick this week’s Hall of Shame winner, because I was inclined to award it to every single Republican who voted against HB1437, introduced by Rep. Rick Becker, which would have ended the state’s ban on some business opening Sunday mornings and allowed political subdivisions to set their own policies in that regard.
It was a permissive law allowing local control, and opening the door to a freer sort of commerce in the state, but the Republican-controlled house voted it down. Here’s the video of the floor debate, which was fascinating to watch:
Rep. Bette Grande might have deserved this honor after arguing against the law on the basis of protecting Sunday morning family time despite owning and operating a truck stop in western North Dakota that I’m pretty sure is open Sunday mornings.
Rep. Wayne Trottier might have earned it to for saying something rather bizarre about Paul Harvey and Sunday openings shutting down churches and allowing the devil to invade the state. But I had to give the Hall of Shame award to Rep. Kim Koppelman, who managed to argue that the state ought not drop the ban on some Sunday openings because businesses and citizens need to be protected from the free market.
According to Rep. Koppleman, if current law was overturned and Sunday openings were allowed, businesses might feel pressured to open on Sundays due to consumer demand and competition from other businesses.
Which is a bit like arguing that people ought to be protected from their own decisions. Because that’s really what free markets are, right? People making and responding to choices. Business would feel pressure to open on Sundays because many people want to shop on Sunday mornings. Maybe some find that immoral, but what business is it of the legislature’s to be imposing religious beliefs on the populace at large?
Koppelman went on to explain that the legislature already regulates and restricts commerce in all sorts of other ways, so why not this way too? With Republicans making arguments like that, why do we need Democrats?
Our friends on the left are the ones who believe in equality of outcome and central control of decision making. Republicans are supposed to believe in free markets, and individual freedom. Koppelmann and the other Republicans who voted for this bill (see the full list here) violated those principles.