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. 

It’s 1981 all over again

Governor Dalrymple called for a special session to deal with revenue shortfalls related primarily to the collapse in oil prices.  This session occurs after previously ordering across the board budget reductions and dipping into the budget reserve.  Although Republicans have yet to disclose their approach in the special session, it is widely anticipated that their main target to achieve reductions necessary will be to roll back property tax relief (raise property taxes) and cut Higher Education spending.

     Actions to ‘re-balance’ the state budget come in the wake of a 2015 Republican dominated legislative session that anticipated oil prices (and state revenues) to remain strong.  To punctuate their firmly held belief, they increased spending in many areas (some one time, others not) and proceeded to permanently cut taxes for corporate and personal income.  And in the final days of the session, they introduced and quickly approved a permanent reduction in the oil extraction tax.  Property tax relief was provided to local political subdivisions, but in the form of ‘one time’ expenditures.  In other words, they approved permanent reductions in corporate income, personal income, and oil taxes, but provided only ‘temporary’ tax relief for property.
     All of this may sound familiar to some older political observers because nearly the same thing occurred in 1981 when Republicans believed the oil party would never end.  The 81 session occurred immediately after ND voters approved the infamous Measure 6 that placed a 6.5% oil extraction tax on the wellhead value of oil.  While grousing about the voter approved tax measure, Republicans proceeded to INCREASE spending AND dependence on oil tax revenues for education and a host of other services.  Meanwhile, they slashed income and sales taxes.
     By late 1981, it became obvious that oil price declines were more than a temporary situation. Heading into the 1982 election, Republicans talked openly about the need to cut spending in some areas AND increase income and sales taxes once again.  That’s exactly what occurred.  The 1983 legislature raised nearly (if not all) of the taxes reduced in the 1981 session.
     Fast forward 35 years to 2016.  Geopolitical activities have once again pushed the price of oil to lows reminiscent of the 1980s price decline. Republicans are poised in the August special session to cut spending and raise taxes once again.  But don’t expect them to recover lost income or oil revenues which primarily were a gift to out of state interests.  Instead, they will raise property taxes – the one tax that they steadfastly refused to permanently reform.
     It should be noted here that 80s Republicans blamed Measure 6 (the voter approved extraction tax) for the collapse of oil activity in North Dakota.  This time, in advance of a collapse, a new generation of Republicans cut the extraction tax.  Of course, this tax cut like the tax increase decades before had no influence on drilling activities in North Dakota.  Activity is always directly related to the price of oil.
     Republicans didn’t learn from the past.  Perhaps the best way to help them learn is to replace as many of them as possible in the November election.   And in District 46, that means re-electing State Senator George Sinner and electing Kirsten Diederich and Dan Fisher to the North Dakota House.

Obnoxious Campaign Signs? – Thank Rep. Kasper

In 2012, Representative Jim Kasper and Senate Candidate Jim Roers’ campaign included placing 4′ X 8′ signs in residential neighborhoods and parking semi-trailer campaign billboards throughout District 46.  These signs were a not so subtle violation of Fargo’s local sign ordinance which prohibited the semi-trailer billboards and restricted signs in residential neighborhoods to 1/4th the size of what they’d dispersed.

Eventually, the City of Fargo came calling to inform D46 Republicans that they needed to remove the illegal semi-trailer billboards and illegal signs in residential neighborhoods.  You might think that, in respect for local laws, they would have immediately responded.  That was not the case, however, as they waited for nearly two weeks after being notified to comply.
The city’s enforcement of their sign ordinances on local Republicans apparently didn’t sit well with Representative Jim Kasper. So Jim waited for an opportunity to quietly change state law and override the local sign ordinance.
In the 2013 legislative session (immediately after the election), Senate Bill 2213 was introduced by Senator Miller and Representative Kasper.  The original bill had only one purpose, to restrict the distance campaigning could occur near polling sites. The bill was in response to former Republican Chair Gary Emenith’s lawsuit that struck down ND’s prohibition on election day campaigning.
When SB 2213 came to Chairman Kasper’s House Government and Veteran’s Affairs Committee, Kasper’s questions to Attorney General Stenehjem pivoted immediately to the ability of local governments to limit the size of signage. Kasper, “Would it be your opinion that cities or counties could not pass ordinances other than for public safety that would restrict political signs during an election campaign?” AG and now Gubernatorial Candidate Wayne Stenehjem gave an answer that should have annoyed any legal scholar and replied, “Things that have been upheld are things of the nature you are talking about.”

Kasper then seized the opportunity to amend the bill to wiping out local ordinances on political signs.  This amendment did not receive a hearing and there was no notice of public input.  Kasper and his accomplice Representative Ben Koppelman argued that legal precedent did not allow limitations of free speech on private property.

Their justification, however, was not accurate.  That is because CASE LAW DID ALLOW local governments the ability to limit signage for public safety and aesthetics IF the ordinance is content neutral.  In fact, on January 22, 2013, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the City of Cary, SC’s content neutral sign ordinance that limited the size and placement of signs on private property.  To be sure, content neutral restrictions have been recognized as constitutional in numerous federal court decisions.  Stenehjem either knew this or should have known this and informed the committee.

In a more recent decision, the U.S. Supreme court issued a major ruling  Reed vs. Town of Gilbert (2015 US Supreme Court), Justice Thomas noted that local governments still have “ample content-neutral options available to resolve problems with safety and aesthetics” which include the regulation of size, building materials, lighting, moving parts, or portability.

Kasper’s goal, however, was not about aligning local ordinances with case law.  His goal was to overrule Fargo’s sign ordinance when it came to District 46 Republican campaign signs.  Apparently, conservative philosophy to defer to local control doesn’t come to play when there is another agenda at hand.
So when you see those obnoxiously large campaign signs hanging on your neighbor’s fence or posted in their front yard, OR the semi trailers down the block masquerading as campaign billboards. you can thank Jim Kasper for the unsightliness of it all.  Because when it comes to getting his way, Jim plays an ‘inside game’ that disrespects his constituents and his local community.
Of course, on November 8, 2016 there is a solution.  Tell Al Carlson’s First Lieutenant, Jim Kasper to stay at home by electing Dan Fisher and Kirsten Diedrich to the ND House and by re-electing George Sinner to the State Senate.

June 7th Presidential Preference Caucus – D46 Dem-NPL

District 46 Dem-NPL announces presidential preference caucus

(Fargo, ND) – District 46 Dem-NPL Chairperson announced today that at 7:00pm local time on June 7, 2016 there will be a presidential preference caucus at Carl Ben Eielson Middle School, 1601 13th Ave S. to elect delegates to the June 18 State Delegate Selection Meeting in Bismarck.

Any person who is a Democrat and a qualified voter of the district may participate in the presidential preference caucus. The meeting is open to the public and all interested Democrats are encouraged to attend.

Note: It is important for interested voters to arrive early because they will not be able to participate if they arrive after 7:00 pm

To learn more about the District 46 Caucus, contact Scott Stofferahn at (701) 235-3291 or by e-mail atdemnpl.46@gmail.com. To learn more about the caucus process, contact the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party at (701) 255-0460 or by visiting www.demnpl.com/caucus.

Dr. Kirsten Diederich seeks D46 Dem-NPL House Endorsement

As a bridge builder, she will raise politics to a higher standard.

FARGO—Kirsten Diederich, a Fargo native and graduate from North Dakota State University, announced today that she is seeking the District 46 Democratic-NPL Party’s endorsement for the State House of Representatives.

In 2010, Dr. Diederich was appointed to the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education by then-Governor John Hoeven, serving on the board for five years, with the last year and a half as chair. Diederich taught biology for 16 years at Concordia College, prior to her appointment to the Board.

“As a bridge builder, I want to raise politics to a higher standard than what most people have witnessed. Too often, our representatives have allowed special interest groups and their own personal agendas to be center stage, refusing to be the voice of and for the individual constituents. Throughout the campaign, I will talk with the voters in District 46, learn about their concerns and when elected, be their voice in Bismarck.”

“I look back on my time serving on the Board of Higher Education with great fondness,” Diederich said. “My pride in the strength of our state was fortified by the talent and passion of the people I met—private citizens, legislators, faculty, staff and administrators.”

Diederich is not new to public service but this is the first time she has run for public office. Her biographical sketch includes service to community through the YWCA Board of Trustees, Bison Bidders Bowl fundraiser for NDSU, trustee for the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, Rotary International, co-chair of the F-M Symphony Ball and Humane Society.

Diederich earned an MS in entomology and a PhD in zoology, both from NDSU. Her husband, Donn, also grew up in Fargo and graduated from NDSU. Together they are parents of two children, Erik (24) and Anna (22). The Diederich’s have owned a home, and lived in District 46, since 1996, prior to that living at their riverside home in South Fargo.

District 46 Dem-NPL to Reconvene for Nominations on Tuesday, April 5th

District 46 Democratic-NPL will reconvene its district convention on Tuesday, April 5th at 6:00 pm for the purpose of nominating candidates for the State Senate and State House of Representatives.
The meeting will be held at the Democratic-NPL Offices in Fargo located at 3032 32d Avenue S, Suite 6 in Fargo.

District 46 Democratic-NPL Nominating Event

6:00 pm, Tuesday, April 5th
Dem-NPL Fargo Office
3003 32nd Ave. S, Suite 6 Fargo, ND 58103

Please plan to attend this event and select our candidates.  Everyone is welcome.

Help Choose Our Candidates – It’s Everyone’s Business

The District 46 Democratic-NPL will consider Legislative Nominations at their upcoming District Convention scheduled for 11:30 am, Saturday, February 20th at the Ben Franklin Middle School(1420 8th Street N, Fargo).  If delegates choose not to nominate on the 20th, a nominating convention will be scheduled.

Unlike our Republican counterparts, District 46 Democratic-NPL delegates to our convention will select our candidates.


A little background…

During his discussion of the upcoming convention the District 46 Republican Chairman informed a local talk show host that their legislative candidates were nominated the prior week.  That seemed curious to us until we reviewed their amended bylaws.

According to the D46 Republican amended bylaws, the DISTRICT COMMITTEE may, by a 2/3 vote, BIND THE DISTRICT CONVENTION to the candidates the COMMITTEE selects.  That is apparently what they did.  No nomination convention was held.

The District 46 Republican Facebook page announced a District Committee meeting to be held on January 12th.  The notice read, ‘The District 46 Committee will be meeting to determine which method to use for endorsing their candidates to the ND Senate and House of Representatives.’

The following day, their Facebook page announced the endorsement of Jim Roers for Senate, Jim Kasper and Shannon Roers for the House of Representatives.

Therefore, Delegates to the District 46 Republican Convention were simply INFORMED who their legislative candidates would be.


Below is a summary of the pertinent bylaw section on the Endorsement process:

Article X – Endorsement of District 46 Legislative Candidates

Section 2 – Method to endorse candidates

a) If incumbent legislators seek endorsement, the District Committee may chose to endorse with 2/3 vote of District Committee – this endorsement is binding

b) The District Committee may also endorse all candidates for the open seats in the same manner

c) If the District Committee chooses to use an endorsement convention, the District Committee may still bind the convention using paragraph ‘a’ above, but allow the convention to select the candidates for open seats.  If they chose an endorsing convention, precinct caucuses to elect delegates prior to the endorsing convention.

d) To participate in the endorsing process, each person must be a current dues paying member($46 per person)

Note: Their District Committee consists of Incumbent Legislators, District Officers, & Precinct Committee Leaders – a pretty tight group.  And Jim Kasper signed the Amendment as District Chair.


It seems rather odd, that a district political party would go so far as to preempt their district convention from nominating candidates to the legislature.  We are not aware of any other district Republican or Democrat, that has similar provisions designed to avoid a public selection process.

What is even more interesting is that sources have informed us that Shannon Roers-Jones was the Chair of the Nominating Committee.  This committee chose not to be public about the process and in the end, the Chair of the Nominating Committee nominates Kasper, herself, and her father!

These restrictive amendments were approved on April 30, 2015, the day following adjournment of the 2015 Legislative Session.  It is as if a certain incumbent legislator was worried about a challenge that might occur nine months later.

Since it was widely known that Representative Kathy Hawken did not intend to run again, the only person who might want protection from an open district convention would be Representative Jim Kasper.

Jim Kasper had reason to worry.

There’s no ‘Pay to Play’ for District 46 Democrats

In comparison to our Republican counterparts, nobody will be charged to participate in the District 46 Democratic-NPL Convention (scheduled for 11:30 am, Saturday, February 20th at the Ben Franklin Middle School)  OR  any subsequent Nominating Convention.

We just want you to come and participate!

A little background…
Recently a local talk radio programs highlighted the Bylaws of the District 46 Republican Party.

According to their rules, before participating in their District Convention, they are required to pay a $46 membership fee ($10 for students).
On one program, the D46 Republican Chair denied this was the case, but on another program, the host read the rules as they were amended on April 30, 2015.
We were able to obtain a copy of the Bylaws for the D46 Republican Party.

Here’s what they say:

Article IV, Section 2. Participation and Voting at Precinct Caucuses
To vote, an individual must:
  • Be a member of D46 Republican Party as stated in Article III of the Bylaws;
  • Voted or affiliated with the Republican party at the last general election or intend to vote for Republicans in the next; AND
  • Be current on D 46 Republican party dues prior to or at the beginning of the caucus.

Note: Article III Membership reads that dues are $46 per person or $10 for full time students – unless waived by unanimous vote of the Executive Committee 

The discussion centered around the D46 Republican requirement that YOU HAVE TO PAY TO VOTE at their District Convention.  Of course, they can waive this requirement with a unanimous vote of the District Committee.
When it comes to voting to nominate Legislative Candidates, however, there is no provision to waive the requirement.
Article X – Endorsement of District 46 Legislative Candidates

d) To participate in the endorsing process, each person must be a current dues paying member

In reality, however, District 46 GOP Convention Delegates were never offered the opportunity to choose their candidates on January 19th.  The District 46 GOP Legislative Nomination Process is the subject of our next post.  Stay Tuned….