BISMARCK, N.D. – In a surprising turnaround, the North Dakota Senate passed a health care nullification bill on Friday.

Nullification appeared dead after the Human Services Committee voted 3-1 to oppose SB2309. But Sen. Dick Dever (R-Bismarck) overcame the committee recommendation with a passionate speech on the Senate floor.

“He spoke beautifully without notes except for quoting the Tenth Amendment,” Sen. Margaret Sitte (R-Bismarck), a bill co-sponsor said.

The revised version of SB2309 passed 27-19.

The bill was significantly altered and somewhat watered down, but retained the spirit of nullification. And it opens the door for the North Dakota legislature to take further steps to prevent implementation of the federal health care act in the state.

  1. The legislative assembly declares that the federal laws known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [Pub . L. 111 – 148] and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 [Pub . L. 111 – 152] are not authorized by the United States Constitution and violate its true meaning and intent as given by the founders and ratifiers.
  2. The legislative assembly shall consider enacting any measure necessary to prevent the enforcement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 within this state.

The Tenth Amendment Center formulated the model legislation upon which the original North Dakota bill was based, and the Center pitched in with some intellectual muscle during process, providing lawmakers with information on the historical and philosophical basis for nullification.

TAC communications director Mike Maharrey said he was thrilled with the legislative victory, even though the final bill ended up somewhat altered.

“We really thought this was dead in the water. But Sen. Sitte, Sen. Dever and the other supporters of nullification refused to give up,” he said. “It’s really exciting to see elected officials fight so hard. They did exactly what James Madison envisioned – interposed on behalf of the people of North Dakota and said, ‘No!’ to unconstitutional federal overreach. I hope their tenacity and boldness serves as an example for lawmakers in other states.”


The Tenth Amendment Center has released the Federal Health Care Nullification Act, which directly nullifies the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” on a state level. Click here to learn more about the bill. CLICK HERE to track the Nullification Act in states around the country.

Mike Maharrey

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”



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