FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 9, 2021
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.