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'Nullification' bill defeated in ND House

A bill designed to allow the Legislature to nullify federal laws has itself been nullified.

The measure would have allowed the appointment of a Legislative interim committee to review new and existing federal laws, and recommend to the Legislature that they not be followed.

Rep. Lawrence Klemin (R-Bismarck) chairs the House Judiciary Committee. Klemin told the House he believes the bill –HB 1282 – is itself unconstitutional.

"It violates the supremacy clause of the US Constitution, and the acknowledgement in the North Dakota Constitution that the US Constitution, and the federal laws enacted pursuant to the US Constitution are the supreme law of the land, " Klemin said on the House floor. "The North Dakota Legislature has no authority to determine the  Constitutionality of federal laws, and cannot nullify them by a resolution."

Supporters argued there should be a way to counteract "federal overreach."

"I think it's important to provide a method for the Legislature to insure the state can stop the enforcement, or stop the seemingly illegal action," said Rep. Tom Kading (R-Fargo). "This bill does exactly that."

The bill failed on a 55 to 38 vote.

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