The ND Legislature Passed Nearly 72% Of Bills Considered In First Half


There wasn’t much going on in the North Dakota House today, at least not during the floor session anyway. They didn’t have anything to vote on, but House Majority Leader Al Carlson made some interesting comments.

He noted that the House considered 467 bills in the first half, and passed 326 of them for a 74.1% rate.

The Senate considered 375 bills and passed 278, for a 69.8% rate.

Both chambers combined to consider 842 bills and passed 604 of them for a 71.7% pass rate. That in a state governed by Republicans. It’s hard to fulfill the Republican promise of limiting government when you’re approving 3 bills for every 1 bill you kill.

I wrote earlier this week about the growth in North Dakota’s laws. The first published set of territorial laws back in 1877 encompassed 807 pages. The current published version of the North Dakota Century Code runs to 15,181 pages.

It’s not hard to imagine why the size of our published laws has grown so much when the legislature passes far more bills than they kill. Which is the subject of my newspaper column this week, and something I mentioned earlier today in writing about reforms to the initiated measure process.

I’m in favor of making the legislative process, whether it’s done by elected officials or citizen activists, a whole lot harder. Because this rapid growth in laws isn’t a good thing.