Kasper: Open records are for other people

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Two years ago, Jim Kasper made 26 separate open records requests (emails, letters, any form of communication) between the Department of Public Instruction and private, federal, and state entities.  It was ‘sweeping in breadth’ and covered a period of 6 years.  The estimated cost was $440,000! 

Because Kasper issued emails directly to agencies, his request was discovered, and out of sheer public embarrassment, he dramatically pared back his request.

Public records requests legislators routed through the Legislative Council are exempted from open records laws.  In fact, all communication from legislative communication has been declared ‘off limits’ by guess who? – Legislators!

That’s right, legislators like Kasper, who abuse open records laws to bludgeon an agency head, are doing it from behind the curtain.

We have no idea of how many open records requests Kasper has issued through the Legislative Council, but it is a fair guess, there have been many.

Legislators regularly send open records requests through the Legislative Council in order to obtain information from University & State Officials, State Agencies, Foundations, City or County Officials, state employees, etc.

More often than not, those requests are aimed at ‘finding dirt’ on someone for political advantage.  And if anyone makes even the smallest error on what constitutes an open record or open meeting, these legislators and their allies are all too eager to pounce on the violation and the individuals responsible for ‘violating the law’.

A good example of this is the attack on Kirsten Diederich for an open meeting violation when she was Chairman of the SBHE.  In reality, most officials are doing their best to comply and rely on legal opinion that later is contradicted by the Attorney General.

So when Senator Tim Flakoll (R-D44) introduced SB2222 to apply public records laws to open records requests made on behalf of a legislator, it was clear Kasper’s abusive request had triggered the legislation.

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 44 to 3.  From there it was assigned to (drum roll please)…  the House Veterans and Government Affairs Committee chaired by (drum roll again please)… Representative Jim Kasper!

Kasper complained that it ‘might reveal what a legislator was working on’.

Gee whiz Jim, isn’t that the reason you insist on open records for every state, county, city, or township official.  Perhaps you will sponsor a general open records exemption for public officials if disclosure would ‘reveal what they are working on’!  (It’s OK to smirk now.)

Once again, the Forum issued another opinion chastising Jim Kasper.

Let’s be honest here.  Kasper actually believes open records laws are fine for public officials so long as none of his records are included.

Kasper’s committee raised every phony excuse they could generate and recommend SB2222 be defeated.  So on March 31, 2016, it failed on the House floor with most Democrats voting in favor of the bill and Kasper’s cronies voting against.  There were a few Republican legislators, however who didn’t buy the excuses of Kasper and his compliant committee members.  Representative Kathy Hawken (R-46) voted to approve the bill.

Perhaps Hawken had had her fill of Kasper’s unbridled hypocrisy.

Here in District 46, many believe it is time to call Kasper by a deserving title.  ‘Former’ State Representative Jim Kasper.

Fire Jim Kasper and his EXTREME CRONIES!

And Get Your Voice Back!

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Cronies on the Campaign Trail

When EXTREME POLITICAL CRONIES run for office, THEY:

  • Call a ONE TERM Senator a ‘Career Politician’ – Jim Roers
  • Attempt to scuttle the FM Diversion and say they support it – Jim Kasper
  • Complain about open meeting violations, but oppose opening their own records – Jim Kasper
  • Are willing to impose government intrusion in their constituents’ personal decisions, but say they want limited government – Roers, Jim Kasper, Shannon Roers-Jones
  • Say they cut middle income taxes, but sent most tax relief to out of state – Jim Kasper
  • Talk about property tax relief, but call it a ‘one time expenditure’ so they can take it away – Jim Kasper
  • Say they support NDSU, but promote an ‘anti-NDSU’ blogger’s opposition to the NDSU Nursing Program – Jim Roers, Jim Kasper, Shannon Roers-Jones
  • Say there are no ethical problems, but are swimming in conflicts of interest – Jim Roers, Jim Kasper
  • Want to represent District 46, but campaign cash comes from California – Jim Roers
  • Say they won’t raise taxes, but won’t admit their plans will result in property tax increases – Jim Roers, Jim Kasper, Shannon Roers-Jones
  • Misrepresent who paid for their campaign ads – Jim Roers
  • Say they will reduce government spending,  but avail themselves of every property tax break they can get – Jim Roers
  • Go into a panicked meltdown when someone points out their record – Jim Kasper
  • Run the nastiest campaign in District history and complain when their opponents call them on it – Jim Roers, Jim Kasper, Shannon Roers-Jones

Get Your Voice Back

District 46 Billboard 13.6x6.12 PROOF1

D46 GOP Candidates call NDSU nursing program an ‘inside deal’

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Mailers attacking District 46 Democratic-NPL candidates placed Jim Roers, Jim Kasper, and Shannon Roers-Jones squarely against the NDSU Nursing Program.

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The ‘inside deal’ referred to in this dishonest mailer was when the State Board of Higher Education, Chaired by Kirsten Diederich, approved NDSU’s assumption of Sanford’s nurse training program in Bismarck.

Background

In 2012 Medcenter One of Bismarck merged with Sanford Health.  Medcenter had the last remaining hospital based Registered Nurse education program in the state.  In Fargo, St. Lukes once had a similar program, but that was long ago before the transition to Meritcare which also merged with Sanford Health.

Sanford decided to end its financial support for the RN education program for the same reasons St. Lukes in Fargo ended its program years ago.  But since the program had value and there was an obvious shortage of nurses, Sanford looked for an education institution to assume responsibility.  In 2014, after reviewing options, Sanford selected NDSU’s School of Nursing as the most logical option to take over the program.  NDSU had both the educational capacity and the institutional support to make it work.  NDSU’s School of Nursing is also listed among the top 30 in the nation.

Here is where it gets interesting.

Almost immediately, Representative Bob Martinson (R-Bismarck) attacked the deal and the State Board of Higher Education’s approval in March of 2014.  Martinson called it a “bailout of a multi-million dollar health care company“.

One has to ask why Representative Martinson was so exercised about the NDSU announcement.  Could it be because the University of Mary’s School of Health Sciences also had a competing offer, but lost out to NDSU?  Could it be because the University of Mary would have to compete against NDSU for nursing students for their RN program?  Why would Representative Martinson care?

Here’s the thing that not one enterprising news organization ever reported. Representative Martinson’s wife is the Dean of Health Sciences at the University of Mary.

Martinson had a conflict of interest a mile wide that was never discussed or exposed.

Fast Forward to the District 46 Republican Campaign

Jim Roers, Shannon Roers-Jones, and Jim Kasper would like to claim they are big supporters of NDSU.   Yet they are approving of attacking District 46 Democrats for the ‘deal’ that resulted in NDSU’s Registered Nurse training presence in Bismarck.

The entire basis of this preposterous attack was not a news source.  Instead it was an opinion blog based on Martinson’s complaints against NDSU, written by a person often referred to as ‘the underwear blogger’.

And no resident of District 46 would ever know this unless they grabbed a high powered magnifying glass to read references on the mailers.

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The Republican campaign in District 46 has to go down as one of the most dishonest efforts in local political history.

So here is the thing.  Jim Roers claims to be among President Dean Bresciani’s best friends.  Yet he is relying on a dishonest campaign that attacks Bresciani’s decision to rescue a nursing program in Bismarck under the NDSU Banner.

If Jim Roers and Shannon Roers-Jones can do this, they will fit in well with Kasper in the ‘good ol’ boys network in Bismarck.  That’s politics as usual in Bismarck.

But if you want things to turn in a better direction, residents of District 46 MUST re-elect Senator George Sinner and elect Kirsten Diederich and Dan Fisher to the House.

It’s time….

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$40,000 Contribution Exposes Roers Conflicts at NDSU Foundation

Why would a California developer make the largest donation to a ND legislative race in the history of the state?

What’s the connection?

The answer is found within the NDSU Development Foundation where both serve as Trustees and until only a few months ago, were both on the Property Management committee of the Foundation.

The nexus between their activity on the Foundation Board and on the Property Management Committee exposes a troubling conflict of interest within the foundation.

On March 2nd, the Foundation’s Property Management committee met to discuss development of the 1600 Block of University Drive and 12th Street N.   Committee Chair Jeff Volk advised about conflicts of interest for people who would be serving on the Foundation Board and bidding on the project. According to the Forum report, Volk’s comments were directed at Jim Roers and Bob Challey.

“I caution those of you that want to be on the other side of the table at the end (bidder for the project) to figure out where the conflict starts,” said Volk.

Challey and Roers appeared to argue with Volk, not understanding the issue.

“I don’t think the committee should try to exclude the expertise that’s there, certainly in the early part of the process,” Challey said.

Jim Roers appeared to want to continue to serve on the Property  Management side of the project until it came to voting.

Other prospective developers likely heard is that Jim Roers would advise the Committee as they lay out the plans, timelines, and work on the requirements of the project.  They should have also understood that Roers Development would likely have inside information on the project well in advance of other firms – putting Roers in the drivers’ seat.

On March 6th, the Forum opined that both were missing the larger point. ‘some developers appear to have an inside track on foundation/university projects…, by virtue of insider status with the foundation, enjoy what other builders might see as unfair advantage’

Roers eventually resigned from the Property Management Committee, but not the Foundation that the Property Management Committee represents.

This fall, the Property Management Committee narrowed the list of proposals from developers down to three.  Roers Development was one of the three selected.  Robert Challey remains on the Property Management Committee as do numerous other members who served with Jim Roers.

The Forum editorial continued, ‘The university and foundation are being scrutinized as never before..  The foundation, in particular, has found itself in a harsh spotlight in the past couple of years.  If ignored or even minimized, the conflict-of-interest matter could be a headline-making blowup.’

Well, blowup time has arrived.  Given Bob Challey’s willingness to buy a win for Roers in a Senate race, why would anyone believe Challey wouldn’t try to deliver the 1600 project to him as well?

Roers Development already appears to have received favored treatment in several University area projects including: T Loft Apartments; Stop & Go Center; and STEM Building.

Given all of this, how could any other developer believe bidding on a Foundation driven project is anything other than a stacked deck?

Just because Jim Roers resigned from the Property Management Committee doesn’t mean that the conflict was removed.  Roers is still a Trustee and he submitted a development proposal for the 1600 block while still a Trustee.  And unless he resigns his position, Roers will be on the Development Foundation Board when the 1600 block project is awarded.  Roers will be on the board of a non-profit that may award a development contract to himself!

The ONLY WAY for Jim Roers to remove himself from this glaring conflict of interest is to withdraw his development proposal.

If Jim Roers is really concerned about the future of NDSU and possible harm that will come if Roers Development is selected as the contractor, he would withdraw now.  If he thinks people will believe Bob Challey (and other foundation friends) won’t give him favored treatment – he needs to think again.

If Jim Roers doesn’t want to harm President Bresciani as he faces challenges before the SBHE, he should pull his bid and quit attacking the NDSU’s Nursing Program with campaign fliers in the district.

District 46 already has one Legislator in Jim Kasper who can’t see a conflict of interest in a forest full of them.  We don’t need to elect someone else who doesn’t get it to join him in the State Senate.

Jim Roers Misleads and Violates the Law

It seems that Republican Senate Candidate Jim Roers has a terrible time following the law when it comes to political activity.

We’ve just discovered that an televised attack ad unleashed against Senator George Sinner illegally misrepresents the sponsor of the ad.

The ad is laughable in one respect.  It refers to Senator Sinner as a ‘career politician’.  Let’s see, is one term in the ND Senate is a ‘career’?  Really Jim?  Perhaps you were referring to Jim Kasper who has been in the ND House for 15 years!

At the end of the ad, the disclaimer reads, ‘PAID FOR BY DISTRICT 46 REPUBLICANS, MARK THELEN, CHAIR.’

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The only problem is that the disclaimer if ABSOLUTELY FALSE!

A quick check of the Federal Election Commission public inspection files for WDAY, KVLY, and KX4, clearly show that the sponsor paying for the was JIM ROERS FOR SENATE.

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So, what is the penalty for violating the law when it comes to proper campaign disclosures?

For small items, failure to have a disclaimer on a brochure (which D46 Republicans have already done this year), it is unlikely that authorities would do anything.

This, however, is a much bigger issue.  The reason Jim Roers didn’t want to claim his purchase is because some people might not think kindly of him for sponsoring a nasty attack ad.  By diverting attention, he can try to look like a ‘good guy’.  This is, of course, precisely why state law requires disclaimers on ads – so voters know who is actually sponsoring political advertising.

Jim Roers needs to apologize for attempting to deceive voters in the District for violating the law.

If not for the District 46 Democratic-NPL shedding light into the matter, nobody would know this rule breaking was going on.  But then again, we are used to Roers breaking campaign rules.

You’ve already read about sign violations in this campaign. (A Matter of Respect)

In 2012, Roers violated city sign ordinances by placing mobile billboards within the district.  It took numerous requests from the city to get Roers to remove them.

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In the same campaign, Roers appeared to have violated state law prohibiting corporate contributions.  Those trailers belonged to Roers Construction.  His campaign website was hosted by Roers Construction, and Roers Construction pickups were regularly seen within the district as employees were distributing campaign literature.  None of these contributions from Roers Inc. were reported.  And frankly, it appears that this activity allowed Jim Roers to deduct campaign expenditures as a business expense – and that also would be illegal.

Certainly, Jim Roers should have known better.  And his corporate attorney, Shannon Roers-Jones, should have known better too.

UNPRECEDENTED

Finally, it is important to point out that Roers’ television buy of $35,250 unprecedented by one candidate in a ND State Senate race.

The ND Secretary of State’s website shows a Jim Roers Senate campaign received an astounding $40,000 contribution from one wealthy California businessman.  Clearly, this was intended to finance the television media buy.  (For more on the Roers-Challey connection, click here.)

It seems that Roers and his friends are intent on purchasing a ND Senate Seat in 2016.  District 46 Democratic-NPL is committed to keeping that from happening.  We need a Senator who represents District 46, not a wealthy California businessman.

We need to re-elect Senator George Sinner!

Don’t Assume Kasper Supports Diversion

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“Don’t assume that the State of North Dakota will step up to the plate with those (Diversion) dollars.” 

This statement by Representative Jim Kasper at the September 13, 2012 FM Diversion Public Meeting (1 hr, 19 m) foreshadowed Kasper’s public position only a few short months later.  Kasper was cautioning local leaders not to expect state support for the project.  Kasper’s statement was applauded by Diversion opponents attending the meeting.  And numerous columns written by opponents referenced Kasper’s statement as they vigorously argued against the project. 

Only a few months later during the 2013 Legislative Session, Representative Al amended the State Water Commission budget with what local leaders called ‘diversion killing’ amendments.  Carlson’s amendment reduced state support for Fargo Flood protection by $125 million, prohibited funds to be used for: a river diversion, dikes and levees associated with the diversion, and limited protection to less than the Army Corps 100 year level.

The Forum’s editorial at the time said Carlson insulted local leaders and betrayed the people he purports to represent

But Carlson was not alone.  Jim Kasper was one of two Fargo Republican legislators who publicly supported Al Carlson’s attempt to scuttle the FM Diversion during the 2013 Session (Forum, February 27, 2013).

In contrast, Representative Kathy Hawken (R, District 46) had the following comment about the amendment. “They’re truly awful. We haven’t done what they’re doing to Fargo to any other district on any other water bill. It’s a micromanaging of it.”

It took weeks and a great deal of hard work by Senator Tony Grindberg (R, D41) and Senator George Sinner to undue Carlson and Kasper’s damaging amendments.

It’s now four years later and Jim Kasper and his friends are telling people they are ‘born again’ Diversion supporters.

So here’s a statement of caution for the residents of District 46.

Don’t assume Jim Kasper and his allies will step up to the plate to provide permanent flood protection for District 46.

He tried to scuttle the Diversion once.  

Will you trust him again?

 

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AND GET YOUR VOICE BACK
ELECT
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Kasper: Ethics and Legislators Don’t Mix

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Teachers, Law Enforcement Officers, Medical Professionals, and Firemen all are are required to abide by an established Code of Ethical Conduct.   Why then, shouldn’t Legislators like Kasper have to follow similar ethical standards?

‘There’s not one instance of impropriety,” Kasper said.  “We don’t have a problem with unethical behavior in North Dakota.” (March 12, 2015, Associated Press)

Jim Kasper has dismissed every ethics reform measure to come before the House of Representatives.

Ethics Standards are about avoiding Conflict of Interest or the appearance of Conflict of Interest.  On those measures, North Dakota scores poorly.  The Center for Public Integrity’s most recent report gave North Dakota a D- overall and an F in categories of Political Financing, Legislative Accountability, Lobbying Disclosure, and Ethics Enforcement Agencies.

A code of ethical conduct and appropriate public disclosure would provide North Dakota citizens basic information on conflicts of interest, self dealing, and  how interest groups are influencing legislators. 

Kasper is the poster child when it comes to industry sponsored influence peddling.  In 2005, Kasper sponsored legislation to provide the internet poker industry a U.S. location to conduct business.  His bill was defeated in the Senate. Kasper was rewarded with industry sponsored vacations to Montreal, Antigua, Las Vegas, Costa Rica, and the Bahamas in exchange for short presentation.  None of Kasper’s trips were reported.  They were known only because of reports published by the industry.

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Kasper at Poker Industry Expo, December 3-4, 2005 in Costa Rica.

Here’s the real truth – The reason we don’t have ethics violations in North Dakota is because WE HAVE NO RULES!

In 2015 the following Bills were introduced, sent to Representative Kasper’s committee, and with Kasper’s recommendation, killed on the House floor on a nearly party line vote.

HCR3060 – A Constitutional Amendment to create a State Ethics Commission

Three bills were introduced related to campaign funding.  HB1253 would have prohibited personal use of campaign donations.  HB1290 required reporting on expenditures of $200 or more.  HB1289 required reporting of gross contributions of $200 or less and cash on hand.

HB1292 required reporting of ‘Scholarship Funds’ – money paid for travel and other expenses by interest groups and lobbyists to attend conferences, meetings, or other events.

In response to a question about creating an Ethics Commission at the LWV Forum on October 18th, Jim Kasper said, “They were terrible bills.”  Shannon Roers-Jones said, “It was a bad bill, because it provided no due process.”  Jim Roers completely confused criminal acts with ethics rules (meant to avoid conflicts of interest or their appearance) saying, “If you have a complaint, go to the States Attorney.”

Not one Republican candidate mentioned that D46 Republican Representative Kathy Hawken was a co-sponsor of HCR3060 in the 2015 session.  Hawken broke from her caucus to vote in favor of HCR3060 and all four ethics related bills mentioned above.

Speaking in favor of the resolution, Hawken said she’s noticed a change during her 20 years in the Legislature, “and it’s a very sad one.”

In reality, language set forth to establish an ethics commission was model legislation adopted in other states.  It is the non-partisan commission’s responsibility to recommend legislation, establish codes of conduct, and rules (including due process) of operation.  An Ethics Commission clears the path for a more ethical state government.

North Dakota will never have an Ethics Commission or establish a Code of Ethical Conduct for Legislators until we get rid of Jim Kasper.

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Get Your Voice Back

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Jim Kasper’s Costly Special Session

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As the 2015 Legislative Session was winding down, Al Carlson, Jim Kasper and their extreme cronies put personal interest above the public interest when they adjourned without resolving the SB2022, the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) Budget Bill.

This last minute dysfunction, led by Carlson and Kasper, resulted in a special session that unnecessarily cost ND Taxpayers at least $69,000.

In February of 2015, the ND Public Employees Retirement System Board awarded health coverage for state employees to the Sanford Health Plan after a competitive bid process.

Note: As legislators, Carlson and Kasper participate in the NDPERS Health Plan.  Despite statements that they were trying to ‘protect’ state employee benefits, it isn’t a big leap to believe they were more concerned over how this change in coverage could affect them!

HB1475 was introduced and referred to the House IBL Committee where Kasper is a member.  The amended measure was intended to interfere with the contract awarded to the Sanford Health Plan by the NDPERS Board.  On March 26th, HB1475 passed the House.  The Senate voted 46-0 to defeat the measure after concluding approval of the bill would be a breach of contract.

Late in the session, however, the House insisted on adding the provisions of HB1475 to the PERS Budget Bill.  The Senate did not agree and appointed new conferees to resolve their differences.  Meanwhile, Kasper, Carlson and their cronies adjourned the Legislative session in a risky attempt to force the Senate to comply.  They did not.

Because of concern, related more to personal interest than public interest, Kasper and Carlson lost at a risky game of chicken.  And ND taxpayers had to pay more than $69,000 for their dysfunctional actions.

Fire Jim Kasper & his Extreme Cronies on November 8th!

AND Get your Voice Back

Re-Elect George Sinner

Elect Kirsten Diederich and Dan Fisher

DONATE TO THEIR CAUSE!

A Matter of Respect

 

Earlier, you may have read how, during the 2012 campaign, District 46 Republican candidates led by Jim Kasper and Jim Roers decided to violate city sign ordinances.

Read: Obnoxious Campaign Signs? Thank Representative Kasper, June 9, 2016

At that time, they turned Roers Inc. trailers into illegal billboards and placed them throughout the district.  It took quite an effort by the City of Fargo to get them removed, but eventually and begrudgingly, Jim Roers removed the illegal trailer billboards.

In the 2013 session, Kasper’s committee amended a bill, to eliminate all city and county regulation of political signage.  Kasper’s committee misrepresented court rulings and wiped out all ND political subdivision sign laws so he could get his way back home.

This year, the Roers/Kasper/Roers-Jones (RKR-J) campaign decided to ignore rules once again.  A large portion of Rose Creek agreed to covenants limiting the size and number of signs that may be placed, and prohibiting placement in certain locations (like perimeter fences).   What is interesting is that, when notified, residents who had agreed to RKR-J signs asked RKR-J to remove them after the new covenants were approved.  The RKR-J campaign is apparently contending that Rose Creek Covenants are a violation of state law (Kasper’s law from 2013).

Democratic-NPL candidates Sinner, Diederich, & Fisher decided early on to: 1) respect Fargo’s sign ordinances regardless of Kasper’s law to overrule them; and 2) respect all development association covenants.  That’s why you won’t see 4’X8′ or 3’X5′ signs hanging on fences throughout the district from their campaign.  Nor will our candidates place signs against the wishes of development subdivisions when notified.

We anticipated the RKR-J campaign would take advantage to Kasper’s sign law, but we didn’t think they would thumb their nose at development association covenants.

Here’s why.  On April 16, 2013, when they were considering Kasper’s sign law in Conference Committee, the topic of covenants was raised.

Representative Koppelman responded to Senator Carolyn Nelson’s question about covenants, “Covenants are also not ordinances. They are contracts. Unless otherwise prohibited by state law, you can contract and agree not to do this. ”  Kasper then agrees saying, ‘”The long and short of it is that it appears that you may do a covenant with a subdivision, but this bill does not address that.  This deals with the  political entities. ”  Senator Nelson: So if they want a clutter free subdivision they can?  Representative Kasper: It appears so.

So here are our questions.

  • Why can’t the District 46 Campaign team of Roers/Kasper/Roers-Jones simply respect Fargo’s sign ordinances?
  • Why can’t the District 46 Campaign team of Roers/Kasper/Roers-Jones simply respect the covenants of a large portion of Rose Creek?
  • Why does the District 46 Campaign team of Roers/Kasper/Roers-Jones insist on ignoring the authority of Covenants (contracts) when in 2013, even Jim Kasper agreed Covenants could restrict signage?

Why should District 46 voters elect a team that ignores local rules, but wants to go to Bismarck to make them for everyone else?

Kasper’s Voter ID Law Ruled OUT OF ORDER!

The “ill-advised repeal of all such ’fail-safe’ provisions has resulted in an undue burden on Native American voters and others who attempt to exercise their right to vote.
August 1, 2016 Opinion by U.S. District Judge Hovland
        With this statement, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland issued an injunction preventing the State from disallowing thousands of North Dakota residents their right to vote.
        This decision was a victory for Native American citizens and others who have been denied their fundamental right to vote in elections since the Legislature approved voter restrictions in 2013.
        The decision was also a major defeat for Representative Jim Kasper (D46-Fargo) and his gaggle ideologues who presented the voter restriction game plan promoted by the corporate funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) headquartered in Arlington, VA.
        HB1332 was originally introduced during the 2013 Legislative Session by Fargo Representative Randy Boehning )(D27) with other Cosponsors Bette Grande (D41-Fargo), Blair Thorseson (D44-Fargo), Alon Wieland (D13-West Fargo), Mike Nathe (D30-Bismarck), Roscoe Streyle (D3-Minot), and Sen. Spencer Barry (D27-Fargo).   
                    Note: Boehning is a member of ALEC’s Civil Justice Task Force that promoted voter restriction legislation throughout the country and Roscoe Streyle served as ALEC’s State Chair.

        As introduced on January 17, 2013, HB 1332 was a one paragraph amendment intended to restrict the voting rights of college students by changing residency requirements to a date preceding the beginning of classes.

        The bill was assigned to the House Government and Veterans Affairs Committee Chaired by Representative Jim Kasper.  A hearing on the original bill was conducted on February 7th.  On the morning of  February 10th, Boehning verbally informed the committee of his intentions to amend the bill (although no language was presented).
        When Kasper reconvened his committee on February 11th, Boehning presented his ‘hog-house’* amendment to HB1332 which represented ALEC’s model voter restriction plans.  This was the FIRST TIME Committee members saw this language.  Five minutes later, Kasper insisted on action which sent the hog-housed bill to the floor on a 10 to 4 party line vote in the committee.
                    *Hog-house amendment – refers to an amendment that fundamentally changes the content after public hearings have been held on the original measure, thereby preventing public notification and input.
        During floor debate, Democratic-NPL legislators complained about the committee actions which circumvented public notice on a brand new voter restriction measure, Kasper defended the actions suggesting that Boehning’s verbal description was somehow sufficient and that 5 minutes of amendment availability was more than enough time for public input and notification!
        The amended bill was first approved by the House on a party line vote of 72 to 21.  It was passed by the Senate similarly on April 3rd by a vote of 30 to 16.
        When the measure came to the House floor for final approvalKasper justified the legislation suggesting affidavits signed by citizens (under penalty of law) were somehow a voter fraud issue.  Kasper stated that the bill would “assure rightful voters are able to vote”.   During the entire debate, proponents could not demonstrate that ND had a voter fraud issue.  What Kasper and his allies did say was that there was a ‘student issue’ and they suggested voters who didn’t have a picture ID who signed affidavits were somehow committing fraud.  
        Those affidavit voters included college students, the elderly, the poor, Native Americans, etc.  Demographically speaking, these groups tend to vote in greater percentages for Democrats. THIS was the real reason for the bill – to restrict the voting rights for political advantage.

        Judge Hovland clearly understood this when he admonished the State by writing, “The public interest in protecting the most cherished right to vote for thousands of Native Americans who currently lack a qualifying ID and cannot obtain one, outweighs the purported interest and arguments of the State. No eligible voter, regardless of their station in life, should be denied the opportunity to vote. ”

        Hovland’s decision was a clear slap down of Jim Kasper’s efforts to tilt elections in his favor.  It was an ill advised effort meant only to restrict voters’ most cherished right.  
        Judge Hovland’s decision is just one more instance where Kasper’s agenda has been denied by the courts or rejected by ND voters.  Simply consider his votes in favor of every bill on women’s health that were determined to be unconstitutional, his vote to for a constitutional measure to politicize higher education (rejected by voters) and his vote allow corporate farming (rejected by voters).
        This election it is time to remove Al Carlson’s First Lieutenant, Representative Jim Kasper, and refocus the legislative agenda toward toward issues citizens really care about.
        We can do just that in District 46 by re-electing George Sinner to the State Senate and electing Kirsten Diederich and Dan Fisher to the ND House of Representatives. 
 
ITS TIME!!!