Resolution Seeks To Study Ways To Make North Dakota More Independent Of The Federal Government


HCR3038 has just been introduced by Rep. Rick Becker, and a group of other legislators, to study ways to move North Dakota towards greater independence from the federal government.

From the resolution:

That the Legislative Management study the statutory and regulatory requirements placed on North Dakota state government agencies by United States government agencies as a condition of the receipt of federal funding to determine whether there are viable options to meet the needs of our state without having the federal government’s oversight and involvement, which state needs can be met if federal funding associated with undesirable regulation or excessive direct and indirect costs are refused, and whether the federal fiscal impact is a significant and necessary factor in assenting to the continuance of federal government involvement in the state’s management processes

This is a major, important initiative for a lot of reasons.

First, let’s not fool around, the federal government is broke. We’ve been adding debt at a $1 trillion/year clip for the last four years, and we’re going to be near that again this year. The less of a burden North Dakota can be on the federal budget, the better. Politicians, like our Governor Jack Dalrymple, are fond of talking about federal funds as though they come at “no cost” to the state. But we’re all federal taxpayers in addition to state taxpayers. The national debt is our problem too.

Second, the more federal money North Dakota takes, the less local control we have over policy in the state. One of the most beautiful things about the American way of government is that we are made up of fifty sovereign states – the “laboratories of democracy” as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called them – where different policies can be enacted (or not enacted) based on the local needs of this large and diverse nation. But the more federal funding gets involved, the more federal strings are attached and the less flexibility we have locally.

We are now at a point where something thoroughly local as what is on the lunch trays of the kids at the local school is a matter of federal policy. That’s insane, and it’s something we ought to be moving away from.

What this resolution intends to do is accumulate data so we can have that debate and, hopefully, enact policies that make North Dakota a more independent state.

On a related note, there is a resolution before legislature already which would study ways to make North Dakota’s education system more independent of the federal government. Here’s my interview with Superintendent Kirsten Baesler about that: