North Dakota lawmakers are looking to get tough on potential direct actions taken by President Barack Obama, proposing a bill to grant the Legislature the right to review, approve or reject any executive order issued by the president.
House Bill 1428 is designed to give legislators the power to suspend orders implemented unless the orders have been upheld by a vote of Congress.
Rep. Bob Skarphol (R-Tioga) is a co-sponsor of the bill and said some members of the Legislature don’t believe in governing by executive order. He said there are checks and balances ingrained into the government for a reason, and those balances should be followed.
“It’s a serious issue with us,” Skarphol said. “If our president wants to circumvent Congress, then we’ll see it the same way as if our governor wants to circumvent us.”
He said there were no direct issues that led to the proposition of the bill. Obama recently enacted executive actions on gun control, though not handing out any direct executive orders.
Skarphol said, however, there will be some gun laws that the Legislature would not allow the North Dakota police departments to enforce.
As far as hydraulic fracturing goes, no executive orders have been made to stop or limit the drilling practice, but Skarphol said there have been rumors of some in the past.
If the Obama administration does place an executive order on fracturing, under the bill, the state could choose to ignore the action until Congress passes an official law.
“That potential exists,” Skarphol said. “The EPA does some things that some of us think go beyond the consent.”
Source: Jerry Burnes, Williston Herald