Thursday, June 7, 2012

North Dakota Ballots June 12th

There are four measures coming up on the June 12th North Dakota ballot. In true political form, what they are is being skewed by both sides of the issues to such an extent that it is hard to really know what you are voting on. As I am a proponent of educated voting, I will attempt to explain them in a simple and unbiased way.

Measure 1:
This constitutional measure would amend and reenact section 6 of Article IV of the North Dakota Constitution.  This measure would prohibit the appointment of a member of the Legislative Assembly to a state office for which the compensation was increased in an amount greater than any general legislative increase provided to full-time state employees during the member's term of office. 
You likely haven't heard much about this one as it's actually pretty straight forward and wasn't initiated. Voting yes would mean that a legislator who votes for a larger than normal pay increase for an appointed position, would be unable to be appointed to that position. If the position received an increase of pay equal to that of all other state employees, then there is no problem.

I agree with this as it makes sure no one is giving themselves unfair pay raises and I will vote yes.

Measure 2:
This initiated constitutional measure would amend sections 1, 4, 14, 15, and 16 of Article X of the North Dakota Constitution and repeal sections 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10 of that same article, eliminating property taxes, poll taxes, and acreage taxes, effective January 1, 2012. The measure would require the Legislative Assembly to replace lost revenue to cities, counties, townships, school districts, and other political subdivisions with allocations of various state-level taxes and other revenues, without restrictions on how these revenues may be spent by the political subdivisions.
This one has gotten a lot of play by both sides and unless your head is stuck in the sand you've no doubt heard about this one. Side one says property taxes are a burden to taxpayers and cause people to lose their homes. Side two says if we cut property taxes we lose local control over our government.
Here in North Dakota we've been extremely fortunate to avoid the massive foreclosures caused by the bursting of the housing bubble a few years ago which in my opinion greatly weakens the argument of side one. Side two wants you to think that if property taxes get cut, when a city or county government wants to spend money, it will have go hat in hand to get the funds from individuals who don't live in that community.
Common sense says that if a government loses a leg, it will lean more heavily on the other legs (sales, income, etc).

I pay property taxes that in my opinion are too high, but I have yet to hear an argument that says removing property taxes will force our government to run more efficiently. I will vote no.

Measure 3:
This initiated constitutional measure would add a new section to Article I of the North Dakota Constitution stating, “Government may not burden a person’s or religious organization’s religious liberty.  The right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief may not be burdened unless the government proves it has a compelling governmental interest in infringing the specific act or refusal to act and has used the least restrictive means to further that interest.  A burden includes indirect burdens such as withholding benefits, assessing penalties, or an exclusion from programs or access to facilities.”
Measure three is my favorite just because it's so absurd. Side one wants you to believe that if you vote yes, you are granting religious freedom to North Dakota, or that if you vote no you are stripping people of their religious freedom. Side two wants you to believe that if you vote yes that Muslims will be able to come here and practice Sharia law freely.
If you read the Constitution of the United States of America, you will see that religious freedom is something that every American citizen is already granted and can not be infringed upon. You. Have. Religious. Freedom! This is NOT a measure to take away ANYTHING! So the premise of this measure having anything to do with religious freedom is absurd.
I can't try to explain this any more as I can't figure out a way to do so without backtracking the argument to why this issue currently exists (Rhymes with shmashmortion) so I will just give my opinion.

This is an attempt by the hyper-religious to make it easier for them to further push their belief system on others. (Study history, this is nothing new nor is it specific to a single religion.) This is why I will be voting no.

Measure 4:
This referendum measure concerns Senate Bill 2370 as passed by the Legislative Assembly in the November 2011 special session (Session Laws, Chapter 580).  Senate Bill 2370 repealed section 15-10-46 of the North Dakota Century Code, which required the University of North Dakota to use the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.
This is easily the most confusing so I will provide the yes/no as well:
YES – means you approve Senate Bill 2370, the effect of which would allow the University of North Dakota to discontinue the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.
NO – means you reject Senate Bill 2370, and would require the University of North Dakota to use the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo
 If you are unaware of the Sioux nickname issue, I will summarize it for you:

NCAA: No more Sioux for you!
UND: Nu uh! We going to court.
NCAA: K. How bout if you get the tribes to agree in the next few years?
UND: No probs.
+a few years later+
NCAA: So...
UND: We um, one more minute?
NCAA: Sigh...
UND: K, fine. We'll change it.
North Dakota Government(NDG): UND you HAVE to be the Sioux.
NCAA: Remember me?
UND: My hands are tied!
NCAA: I don't care.
Side one(S1): Screw it, go Sioux!
Side two(S2): Um, but I like postseason play.
UND: I know right?
NCAA: You guys are idiots, I'm out.
S2: Hey NDG, you are stupid.
NDG: You don't like it, vote.
S1: Noooooooo!

Measure 4!

So, if you vote yes, you are voting no to keeping the nickname and if you vote no, you are voting yes to keeping the nickname. The NCAA doesn't give a hoot what our state law is, the sanctions against UND will remain in place until they have a new nickname. Watching UND athletic competitions is more important to me than saying a name, so I will be voting yes.

No matter what, you need to go vote. Voting is how your voice is heard.
If you would like more information about any of the measures, you can find that information here:

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