Governor Burgum issued a line-item veto to the state’s Parks and Recreation Department budget to remove special privileges placed in by an amendment. Section 13 of HB 1019 directs the Department to establish rules to the state park marinas to allow only individuals and their immediate families who currently rent a slip to swim in the area. Because it allows this privilege only to certain individuals, Burgum used his veto pen.
Here is the full language of amended section 13:
SECTION 13. LEGISLATIVE INTENT – STATE PARK MARINA SWIMMING RULES.
It is the intent of the sixty-fifth legislative assembly that the parks and recreation department
establish rules for state park marinas to allow an individual currently renting a slip at the marina
and the individual’s immediate family members to swim in the marina area subject to the
individual and each family member signing a release of liability waiver form developed by the
This seemed like very specific language in the amendment so I asked around why it was added. I’m told the driving force behind this amendment is State Senator and NDGOP Chairman Kelly Armstrong of Dickinson. Armstrong was apparently upset his children aren’t allowed to swim in one of the marinas where he keeps his boat. After the Department had decided to not change their internal rule at his request, the amendment appeared in their budget bill.
The Department seems to think allowing swimming in these areas is too dangerous. I’ll let you be the judge on that one. To be honest, if I were utilizing the area and my family wanted to swim but weren’t allowed to under my supervision, I’d be annoyed as well. With that said, trying to pull rank as a legislator and give yourself special privileges that other North Dakotans would not have isn’t the right approach. If the legislative body thinks swimming should be allowed in these areas, it should be allowed for everyone.
I bring it to your attention because hours after Governor Burgum issued his line-item veto to strip these special privileges from a budget bill, the House overrode the veto on a vote of 80 to 8. The vote to override the veto will likely be before the Senate today.