North Dakota Democratic-NPL Chair admonishes Alabama IVF ruling

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 23, 2024

FARGO – This week, three health care clinics across the state of Alabama paused in vitro fertilization treatment over fears of prosecution following a ruling from the Alabama Supreme Court that put access to IVF at risk. With North Dakota’s draconian anti-abortion laws, many have expressed concern about the fate IVF here.

Democratic-NPL Chair Adam Gowlwyn remarked, “For many North Dakotans struggling to start the family they’ve dreamed of having, IVF is a miracle. This attack on IVF is a direct result of Trump-appointed Supreme Court Justices overturning Roe v. Wade. Last year, North Dakota was on the forefront of some of the most intrusive legislation when it came to personal medical decisions like gender affirming care and abortion. We know that the forced-birthers of the ND Republican lawmakers are going to come for IVF here next, and eventually all other forms of contraception as well. Democrats, as always, stand for individual liberty and freedom—the freedom to make medical decisions with your doctor, not have them dictated to you by legislators.”

CONTACT:
Laura Dronen
Communications Director
(701) 566-0616
[email protected]

Tribal Subdistricts Dominate Day 2 of Special Legislative Session

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 9, 2021

CONTACT:
Laura Dronen
Communications Director
(701) 566-0616
[email protected]

Tribal Subdistricts Dominate Day 2 of Special Legislative Session

Bismarck, ND –  After extensive debate, the North Dakota Legislature has moved one step closer to implementing subdistricts for the legislative boundaries that encompass MHA Nation and the Turtle Mountain Reservation—a move supported by many Tribal Leaders, as well as voter advocacy groups.

Representative Terry Jones (R-New Town) made a failed attempt to remove subdistricts from HB 1504. After admitting he didn’t know much about the ‘ins and outs’ of redistricting, he tone deafly claimed there “is no racial animus anywhere in North Dakota.”

“Rep. Terry Jones continues to display an almost impressive lack of understanding when it comes to the Constitution,” said Laura Dronen, Dem-NPL Communications Director. “It’s shocking that, in 2021, any legislator could display so much disregard to the needs of our Indigenous communities. The Redistricting Committee, itself, was very clear from the outset that there is a need, in accordance with the Voting Rights Act, for subdistricts for MHA and Turtle Mountain.”

“The passage of HB 1504 through the House today means we move closer to a truly representative body in the ND state legislature, giving stronger voice to a constituency that has long been underrepresented, in spite of being this land’s longest residents. Diverse perspectives, histories, and understandings in a body like the state legislature are absolutely necessary to ensure our state is moving forward,” said Rep. Ruth Buffalo, after the Joint Redistricting bill was approved in the House by a vote of 73-18. The bill now heads to the North Dakota State Senate for approval.

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North Dakota Democratic-NPL Statement on the Passing of Former Secretary of State Jim Kusler

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 9, 2021

CONTACT:
Laura Dronen
Communications Director
(701) 566-0616
[email protected]

North Dakota Democratic-NPL Statement on the Passing of Former Secretary of State Jim Kusler

Current and Former Lawmakers, including Sen. Kent Conrad, express their sentiments following the death of Secretary of State Jim Kusler

**Obituary and Photo can be found here**

Bismarck, ND – We are devastated to learn of the death of former Secretary of State Jim Kusler.

“Secretary Kusler was as true a champion, and as dedicated a public servant as our state has ever had. As the only Dem-NPLer to serve as Secretary of State to-date, Jim always put the needs of North Dakotans first and foremost during his time in office, with passion, energy, and a knack for working across the aisle. The Dem-NPL mourns the loss of our dear friend, and we extend our deepest condolences to the Kusler family,” remarked Executive Director Tyler Hogan.

Former U.S. Senator Kent Conrad expressed, “Jim Kusler was a dear friend and a dedicated public servant. He loved North Dakota’s people and our history. May he Rest In Peace.”

“Jim was always there to answer the call to public service,” said North Dakota Democratic-NPL Chair Pat Hart. “He left a profound and positive impact in every role he held – from his time working for Governor Art Link, to serving as a special assistant to then-Tax Commissioner Kent Conrad, all the way through his tenure in the North Dakota State Senate and, later, making history as the first and (so far) only Democratic-NPL Secretary of State.”

“Jim was very meticulous in his work. As Secretary of State he did an amazing job of modernizing the office after decades under penny pincher Ben Meier. He was the only Dem-NPLer ever elected to the office. He was crushed when he was defeated for re-election, because he loved working for the people. He was highly intelligent and just a truly wonderful person. A dedicated Dem- NPLer, he was very perceptive and was forward thinking,” said Gary Holm, who worked with Kusler in the Link Administration.

“Jim was a very conscientious legislator and Secretary of State. He worked hard to bring the Secretary of State’s office into the 21st century,” added Former State Sen. Aaron Krauter.

Sen. Tim Mathern noted, “I was privileged to serve with Mr. Kusler in the ND Senate. He was meticulous and passionate about his service to the institution and the citizens. He always went beyond the call of duty.”

A Visitation Service will be held on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Beulah Congregational Church; a Funeral Service will occur Thursday, November 11, 2021 at 2:00 PM also at Beulah Congregational Church.

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Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Delivers Major Win for North Dakota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 6, 2021

CONTACT:
Laura Dronen
Communications Director
(701) 566-0616
[email protected]

Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Delivers Major Win for North Dakota

Bismarck, ND –  After months of intense negotiations, Americans are finally getting the Infrastructure Week they were promised. Friday evening, Congress passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Deal—a once-in-a-generation investment that will create millions of jobs, while modernizing our infrastructure, improving and strengthening supply chains, and boost US competitiveness for years to come.

In 2019, The American Society of Civil Engineers gave North Dakota a C grade on its infrastructure report card, highlighting the dire need for improvements to our roads, waterways, and towns. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act addresses those needs – providing the essential funding necessary to make a positive, lasting impact on our state, our workers, and our families

Representative Zac Ista (D-Grand Forks) praised the bill’s passage saying, “Thanks to the tireless leadership of President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress, this major commitment to improving our nation’s infrastructure is now set to become law. This will be a huge win for North Dakota, and the rest of the country. Former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood (himself a former Republican Congressman) told the National Conference of State Legislatures that this bill will help ease the supply chain issues we’ve been experiencing.”

The long-awaited breakthrough in Congress comes just as the North Dakota Legislature will be allocating over one billion dollars invested in North Dakota through the American Rescue Plan Act, signed by President Biden earlier in the year. “This historic achievement will finally bring essential funding for North Dakota’s infrastructure, but let’s do more. Let’s take advantage of this accomplishment in the North Dakota tradition by being bold and innovative with how we reinvest American Rescue Plan money during next week’s Special Session,” said Senator Tim Mathern (D-Fargo). Sen. Mathern’s bill to invest in infrastructure, paid family leave, and quality, accessible childcare will be considered by the North Dakota Senate Delayed Bills Committee during next week’s Special Session.

While both Senator Hoeven, and Senator Cramer ultimately supported the bill when it passed the Senate in August, Rep. Kelly Armstrong voted against it on Friday night.

Here’s how the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will affect North Dakotans:

  • Repair and rebuild our roads and bridges with a focus on resilience, climate change mitigation, equity, and safety for all users.
    In North Dakota, there are 444 bridges and over 830 miles of highway in poor condition.
  • Help connect every American to reliable high-speed internet. 15% of North Dakota households do not have an internet subscription, and 3% of North Dakotans live in areas where, under the FCC’s benchmark, there is no broadband infrastructure. Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, North Dakota will receive a minimum allocation of $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state, including providing access to the at least 19,800 North Dakotans who currently lack it. And, under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, 159,000 or 21% of people in North Dakota will be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will help low-income families afford internet access.
  • Prepare more of our infrastructure for the impacts of climate change, cyber attacks, and extreme weather events. From 2010 to 2020, North Dakota has experienced 7 extreme weather events, costing the state up to $5 billion in damages. Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, North Dakota will expect to receive $21 million over five years to protect against wildfires and $11 million to protect against cyberattacks. North Dakotans will also benefit from the bill’s historic $3.5 billion national investment in weatherization which will reduce energy costs for families.
  • Deliver clean drinking water to every American and eliminate the nation’s lead service lines and pipes. Currently, up to 10 million American households and 400,000 schools and child care centers lack safe drinking water. Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, based on the traditional state revolving fund formula, North Dakota will expect to receive $355 million over five years to improve water infrastructure across the state and ensure that clean, safe drinking water is a right in all communities.

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Washington Republicans Push to Intentionally Crash US Economy as Default Looms

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2021

Contact
Michael Taylor
[email protected]
701-255-0460

Washington Republicans Push to Intentionally Crash US Economy as Default Looms
*ND Delegation Remains Spineless as Hoeven, Cramer, and Armstrong Back Shutdown*

Bismarck, ND – Last week, Senate Republicans voted to block an emergency bill passed by the House to fund the Government through December. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has issued grave warnings that a failure to meet debt obligations could trigger a catastrophic economic collapse as soon as mid-October. If a deal is not reached by Thursday, the Federal Government will enter a shutdown, leaving millions of workers without pay.

Despite this, Republicans in Washington have continued to dig in their heels by refusing to work with the Biden Administration to avert an economic crisis. This shameful display has completed the GOP’s transformation as the Party of “Death, Disease, and Destruction.”

“The full faith and credit of the United States has been solidified by a 245 year history of honoring our promise to pay our debts,” said Michael Taylor, Executive Director of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL. “The very integrity of our nation is being held hostage by the recklessness of Senator Hoeven, Senator Cramer, Representative Armstrong, and their cohorts in Washington. Because they cannot be bothered to do the right thing, they’re intentionally putting North Dakotans and our Country on the brink of recession.”

Dem-NPL Chair, Patrick Hart, also did not mince words, adding: “This is an unprecedented level of heartless cruelty. Growing up, I saw firsthand how these shutdowns affected not only my parents, but the entire community. This will have a devastating ripple effect on many government functions that provide essential services. We’re still fighting a pandemic that continues to take lives, and put people out of work. We have roads to fix. Businesses have employees to pay. People have families to feed. How could anyone look at the real issues facing us, then decide to make things even worse for the people who elected them? Instead of working to solve these problems, our national GOP delegation has opted to play politics with peoples’ livelihoods.”

Chairman Hart continued:

“We’ve seen their policies cause market crashes before, but never once have they actively chosen to do it on purpose – until now. Anybody who would throw us over the fiscal cliff, while collecting a paycheck off of your hard-earned money, has absolutely no business serving in elected office. My message to our delegation is: Simply voting ‘no’ isn’t going to cut it. You were sent to Washington to find solutions that will help North Dakotans. Do your job.”

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Dem-NPL Legislative Redistricting Committee Members Release Draft of Statewide Redistricting Map

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 22, 2021

CONTACTS:
Rep. Joshua Boschee, D-44, Fargo House Minority Leader
Sen. Erin Oban, D-35, Bismarck Senate Asst. Minority Leader Member, Redistricting Committee


Dem-NPL Legislative Redistricting Committee Members Release Draft of Statewide Redistricting Map

Bismarck, ND – On Wednesday, September 22, Rep. Josh Boschee and Sen. Erin Oban, Democratic-NPL members of the Redistricting Committee, presented a draft statewide map to the full membership of the legislative committee. The Redistricting Committee is responsible for preparing proposals to replace existing legislative district boundaries with new boundaries reflecting population changes released from the 2020 Census.

Along with the draft map, Boschee and Oban outlined the principles they used in drawing the updated legislative district boundaries. Those principles, in order, include:

  1. Upholding United States and North Dakota constitutional and statutory requirements
    [Note: The Redistricting Committee generally agreed to maintain the number of North Dakota’s current legislative districts at 47.]

  1. Keep counties and tribal nations intact

  1. Keep communities of interest intact to the extent possible (cities, universities, neighborhoods, oil/ag/coal country)

  1. Keep existing legislative districts intact, adjusting to use major/widely-accepted/consistent thoroughfares (interstates, highways, streets, county roads/subdivisions, rivers, etc.)

  2. Get as close to deviation of 0 as possible while accommodating for known current/immediately anticipated growth areas

“The principles we set before we began the process of mapping out our entire state forced us to make decisions and draw lines based on what is most logical for voters to understand and most reasonable for counties – those responsible for conducting elections – to follow,” said Oban. She added, “Using guidelines helped establish consistency and remove biases we, as legislators, often have of protecting incumbents or prioritizing partisanship. Certainly, not everyone will agree with this proposal, but at least adopting and following criteria enabled us to take an objective and fair approach.”

The map now becomes public record and is accessible and available for public comment.

“We invite North Dakotans to engage in this process, to provide input, and to compare and contrast maps proposed by all committee members,” stated Boschee. “Redistricting occurs once every ten years, and it’s in everyone’s best interest to get it right. We can’t do that without feedback from our tribal nations, county and city officials, and the members of the public who it most impacts.”

To view the state map drafted by Boschee and Oban and presented to the Redistricting Committee, visit:

sen_oban_and_rep_boschee_full_state_proposal_092221.pdf.

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Dem-NPL Legislative Leaders to hold Press Conferences on Special Session, American Rescue Plan Spending

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 20, 2021

CONTACT:
Michael Taylor
Executive Director
[email protected] 
701-255-0460

Dem-NPL Legislative Leaders to hold Press Conferences on Special Session, American Rescue Plan Spending

Bismarck, ND – On Tuesday, September 21, Dem-NPL legislative leaders will hold press conferences in Bismarck and Fargo to lay out a bold vision for key investments into North Dakota, using the over $1B the state received through the American Rescue Plan. Details on press conference speakers, locations, and times can be found below.

Fargo Press Conference:

  • Speakers: Sen. Tim Mathern and Rep. Alisa Mitskog
  • Time: 1:00 pm CST
  • Location: Fargo Park District Depot – 701 Main Ave Fargo, ND 58103
Bismarck Press Conference:
  • Speakers: House Minority Leader Josh Boschee and Senate Minority Leader Joan Heckaman
  • Time: 2:00 pm CST
  • Location: Democratic-NPL Headquarters – 1902 E Divide Ave Bismarck, ND 58501
To attend either location in person, RSVP by emailing Executive Director, Michael Taylor, at [email protected] or by calling 701-255-0460. For any members of the press interested in asking the speakers questions, but unable to attend in person, email your questions to [email protected].Masks will be required to attend in person. Please hold all questions for the speakers until after their remarks.

Chair Oversen Releases Statement on President Biden’s 100 Days in Office.

Bismarck, ND –  Dem-NPL Chair Kylie Oversen released the following statement on President Biden’s first hundred days in office.

“North Dakotans are grateful to have a leader in the White House. A leader that champions working class families and cherishes our shared values as Americans. When President Biden took the oath of office, there was a shroud of darkness cast over the country with most of us still reeling from a violent insurrection, but still we as a nation pressed forward under his administration’s guidance.

“Now the results are demonstrable. In just 100 days we have seen a robust commitment to ending the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 200 million shots being given to Americans and $1,400 checks – that both North Dakota Senators opposed – going to help support small business owners, teachers, and working class North Dakotans.

“As we move beyond President Biden’s first 100 days, the writing is on the wall for Republicans like Senators Hoeven and Cramer who stand in the way of progress for North Dakotans; get in or get out of the way. The momentum and popularity that President Biden’s agenda has is unmatched in history. Americans are ready for the American Jobs Plan to give us good paying, union jobs. North Dakotans are ready for the American Families Plan, which will aggressively invest in our children and their futures. There is no time to waste and we at Dem-NPL look forward to the fight and bright future to come.”

The First Amendment Is Under Attack From The NDGOP

Bismarck, ND –  With the passage of SB 2030 the NDGOP has made it abundantly clear that the most sacred right enshrined in the Bill of Rights can be cast aside in the name of a 21st Century witch hunt led by Sen. Janne Myrdal (R-Edinburg). 

The NDGOP turned what began as good legislation to fund important and necessary research into a bill that will strip academic freedom from universities, faculty, and students. The bill will undoubtedly drive away students, faculty, and their economic support from our state. The fate of the bill, and academic freedom, now sits on the Governor’s desk.  

Democratic-NPL Executive Director Michael Taylor spoke on the anti-American legislation; 

“What this bill does is strip away academic freedom for the next generation of leaders in North Dakota. If a supermajority of NDGOP legislators are willing to blatantly strip First Amendment rights, what right will they take away from you next? The leadership of this party, from Governor Burgum to our leaders in the United States Senate, are failing you and your family and allowing a frothing group of right-wing zealots – who view a serial sexual harasser as a martyr – to overtake our state government.”

Taylor continued;

“To each and every North Dakotan: I urge you to look at what is happening to our state. The NDGOP has had opportunity after opportunity to create legislation that improves your life. Instead, every single time they have chosen to pass laws that objectively make your life harder, less safe, or outright spit in the face of the Constitution. This cannot stand for one more day. How many Constitutional rights are you willing to give up for elected officials that give you nothing, while taking your tax dollars and killing jobs in your communities?” 

ND Supermajority Subverts Constitution Again, Forces Religion on Families

Bismarck, ND – Today, far-right extremists in the State House – led by Rep. Terry Jones (R-New Town) – opened up a pandora’s box of legal, and ethical crises by enabling unconstitutional religious indoctrination to be forced upon students in public schools without parental consent.

SB 2308, which is in direct violation of the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment, would allow for the Ten Commandments to be displayed on the walls of classrooms in public schools all across the state – a proposal which no public school district, nor church, spoke in support of during testimony. The bill passed by a 76 to 16 vote, affirming that a supermajority of House and Senate Republicans do not believe in the principles of our Constitution. 

Democratic-NPL Party Chair, Kylie Oversen, said:

“These self-anointed prophets of the NDGOP highlight the exact reason why the Framers of the Constitution explicitly forbid the entanglement of Government and Religion. These legislators – in both chambers – knew they were voting for a bill that had already been ruled unconstitutional, and would be immediately met with lawsuits that would drain taxpayer funds from the state, and public school districts. Even worse, they denigrated their own faith by dismissing the Ten Commandments as nothing more than a ‘historical document.’”

Oversen continued:

“This legislation takes power away from parents and families to determine how, or if, their children will practice worship. If you can display the precepts of one religion, then anyone’s personal belief system could also be advertised on a classroom wall without input. In the future, we encourage our NDGOP counterparts to open up a book on constitutional law before wasting taxpayer funds to trample on the Bill of Rights, religious freedom, and individual liberty all in one swift session.”

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Democratic-NPL to NDGOP Legislature: Withdraw HB 1298

Bismarck, ND – Following a bizarre, off-the-rails rant from Sen. Janne Myrdal (R-Edinburg), the North Dakota Senate amended HB 1298 to a study on a 32-15 vote. The bill will now go to a conference committee.

The bill – which has drawn comparisons to North Carolina’s infamous HB2 for its senseless targeting against transgender persons – seeks to bar students from participating in school sports based on their gender-identity. The overwhelming backlash against HB2 caused severe economic, legal, and political repercussions in the state, until its eventual repeal. The same repercussions are expected in North Dakota if HB 1298, in its original form, should become law.

Democratic-NPL Chair, Kylie Oversen, responded to today’s action:

“While hatred was spewed on the Senate floor today, the NDGOP quickly attempted to save face. But the honest truth is, we don’t need a study to tell us what we already know: HB 1298 serves no other purpose than to dehumanize transgender persons. As similar legislation is enacted in other states, we can already see the number of lawsuits being drafted in real time. Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars on this bigotry, the NDGOP should cut their losses and rescind this detestable piece of legislation.”

Oversen continued:

“HB 1298 is nothing less than clear-cut civil rights abuse, as well as a gross invasion of privacy. If the extremist legislators who pushed this bill get their way, legal action and economic backlash will likely follow as a consequence. Today’s decision gives the legislature one last chance to avoid that fate; and instead show some compassion, and political courage, by rejecting this measure entirely. Regardless of how many times the NDGOP tries to move the goalposts, let there be no question about it: HB 1298 is evil. HB 1298 is heartless. HB 1298 is cruel. The Dem-NPL condemns it wholeheartedly, and we pledge to continue standing proudly alongside the transgender community in the fight for inclusion, liberty, and justice.”

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Statement of Dem-NPL Legislative Leaders on Potential Sale of Coal Creek Station

(BISMARCK, N.D.) – Senate Minority Leader Joan Heckaman (D-New Rockford) and House Minority Leader Josh Boschee (D-Fargo) released the following statement on the potential sale of Great River Energy’s Coal Creek Station power plant.

“Hundreds of hard-working North Dakotans depend on this plant for their livelihood. When Great River Energy announced it would be closing Coal Creek, it was uncertain how the community could offset the economic loss. We are encouraged that talks are underway to continue operating the plant. Coal Creek is a national example of how we can responsibly develop our state’s abundant natural resources and develop innovative technologies to minimize the effect on the environment.

While the Nation debates the future of coal, this news is a sign that North Dakotans can still come together to support jobs, economic development, and strong communities with our all of the above energy strategy.”

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