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Lawmakers ask Gov. Burgum for leniency with his executive order pausing extracurricular activities

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Lawmakers around the state say they are hearing from constituents about the governor’s executive order and some people say it’s more hurtful than helpful. Some legislators we spoke to say they think the governor has gone too far.

“The real victims of this whole thing are the kids in the sports, the people with their business, the small mom-and-pop,” said Oley Larsen, District 3 Representative.

Larsen is one of the several Republican legislators who want Gov. Burgum to rescind his executive order that pauses extracurricular activities and most high school sports until Dec. 14, as well as implementing a number of requirements for businesses.

“I think it’s unfortunate that you can fill a bar with a bunch of people and there’s no problem with that. But you can’t fill a gymnasium with a bunch of people. And, you’re having two different types of behavior in those crowds,” Larsen said.

One of the issues some constituents and legislators say they have with the executive order is the suspension of student activities.

Assistant Majority Leader Scott Louser says he’s heard from more than 200 people, who shared their stories.

“There are some pretty emotional pleas that people are making and it has nothing to do with the time and money invested in the sport for their kids, it’s really about their kid’s well-being,” Louser said.

Some legislators say they would like to hold a special session to rescind the governor’s orders.

“The downside is we waste one day, actually one afternoon trying to accomplish this. People vote us in to make the hard decisions and I don’t think this is the time where we want to try and avoid that,” said Rick Becker, District 7 Representative.

But the House Majority Leader says it isn’t that easy.

Chet Pollert says the governor could issue another executive order the day after the special session concludes.

With that, some lawmakers would prefer to wait until January to evaluate the governor’s emergency powers.

“We don’t have all the answers for a special session right now. That’s a lot more complicated than it seems,” Louser said.

“Those are things that need to be done by the legislative session in their full realm of a legislative assembly when we meet in January and meet for the next three-and-a-half months,” Pollert said.

In the meantime, legislators say they’re going to continue to present the governor with their concerns.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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