I find it very disappointing that some lawmakers are choosing to ignore North Dakota voters, again, by trying to redirect 2008 voter-approved Measure 3 tobacco prevention funds (HB 1353). In a recent letter to the editor, one of the bill sponsors, Senator Ray Holmberg wrote, "I, for one, believe in a system of government that allows for the most participation from its citizens. North Dakota is a successful example of such a system." That statement is blatantly contradicted by his sponsorship of HB 1353, repealing a citizen-led, citizen-passed initiative requiring tobacco settlement money be used for tobacco prevention.
North Dakota's Comprehensive Tobacco Prevention Program is in its infancy and making great progress in tobacco control for the citizens of North Dakota. The voters' clear directive was to implement a science-based comprehensive program that will reduce health care expenditures and save lives in North Dakota; it was a mandate of the people, not a mere suggestion. North Dakota citizens are not as naive as the bill sponsors assume: behavior change statewide does not happen overnight, it takes years of following science-based proven strategies. The tobacco epidemic is not solved. Bill sponsors Senators Ray Holmberg, Judy Lee, Tom Fischer and Representatives Bob Skarphol, Bill Devlin, and Robin Weisz are mistaken if they think they can slide this one by the citizens of North Dakota.
Mary C Tintes