Marcus Larson: ND Senators Refuse To Protect Sanctity Of Cemeteries

This post appeared originally on FMDam.org

One of the first memories I have from my childhood relating to a cemetery was a stern warning to respect the dead in their graves in solemnity, because behaving without a decorum of reverence was disrespectful. Which included instructions of where you should walk, how loud you should talk and sage advice that most visitors are there grieving or on a journey searching for lost ancestors in their family tree.

When SB 2311 initially passed 24-21, North Dakota had a cemetery bill that would preserve sacred grounds and ensure that every man, woman, child, ethnic group and veteran would have their final resting places respectfully observed.

However, Fargo’s self-centered political machine felt that the bill would interfere with the Fargo Dam and FM Diversion project. Which, in and of itself, is an indirect admission by Fargo that they are aware they are intentionally desecrating cemeteries without just cause or consequence.

In its simplest form, SB 2311 wasn’t just about cemeteries in the Red River Valley upstream of Fargo, ND tied to a multi-billion dollar development project. It was a bill that included all North Dakota cemeteries from west to east, but also impacts several in Minnesota as well. The bill was to ensure that any proposed construction of a highway, dam, reservoir, or other project to be paid for with public funds, that is likely to disturb a human burial site, would require the state department of health and the state historical society to schedule a public hearing to allow public comment regarding the disturbed burial site. And before any project may commence, the governmental entity conducting the project shall implement a cultural resource mitigation plan approved by the director of the state historical society.

Simply a “public hearing”…, to ensure that ancestors that have passed are afforded a modicum of dignity and respect in their final resting places got pro-Fargo lawmakers worked up. Especially, when faced with brazen development projects and unabashed greed.

North Dakota Century Code 12.1-17-06. Criminal coercion.

1. A person is guilty of a class A misdemeanor if, with intent to compel another to engage in or refrain from conduct, he threatens to:
c. Expose a secret or publicize an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject any person, living or deceased, to hatred, contempt, or ridicule, or to impair another’s credit or business repute; or
d. Take or withhold official action as a public servant or cause a public servant to take or withhold official action.

So what does that tell us about North Dakota lawmakers that voted to kill SB 2311 (The Cemetery Bill)?

It’s no surprise that Grafton Senator Tom Campbell voted against the bill. He also sits on theChoice Financial board of directors as chairman, with Choice Financial involved with the development of Eagle Pointe southeast of Davies H.S., listed as the mortgagee of blocks 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 with James R. Bullis, Carefree Investments, LLC.

Download: Eagle Pointe Plat Map (Senator Tom Campbell – R, Grafton, ND) – PDF 2.1 mb

But why would Senator’s Judy Lee and Mac Schneider go from desk to desk encouraging senators to reconsider and change the vote?

It’s a good thing that good old political arm twisting isn’t considered “coercion”…

But is manipulation of votes to compel an outcome any less despicable?

West Fargo Senator Judy Lee argued, with a shrill voice laced with hyperbole, against the bill and called it a “pre-emptive strike” against the diversion, however, that is simply pro-Fargo rhetoric intended to undermine and influence other senators into leaving all North Dakota cemeteries at risk of damages without consequences.

Whether or not Grand Forks Senator Mac Schneider is related to someone actively involved with the Fargo Dam and FM Diversion project is up to you to decide. People do favors for each other all the time. The greater question is why would a Grand Forks Senator (Mac Schneider) abandon his constituents as a favor to Fargo, when U.S. Army Corps of Engineers alignment VE13A documentation indicates 41.64 inches more water (read more…) at Grand Forks, above the highest crest since construction of their city floodwalls?

So why is any bill, such as SB 2311 (The Cemetery Bill) even needed? Senate Bill 2311 was introduced because social morality has failed or been perverted by development greed.

Here is a list of North Dakota senators that refused to protect the sanctity of cemeteries:

Howard C. Anderson, Jr. voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Kelly M. Armstrong voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Tyler Axness voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Randall A. Burckhard voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Tom Campbell voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Jonathan Casper voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Kyle R. Davison voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Tim Flakoll voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
John Grabinger voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
David Hogue voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Ray Holmberg voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Karen K. Krebsbach voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Lonnie J. Laffen voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Gary A. Lee voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Judy Lee voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Richard Marcellais voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Tim Mathern voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Philip M. Murphy voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Carolyn C. Nelson voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Erin Oban voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Dave Oehlke voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Nicole Poolman voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
David S. Rust voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Mac Schneider voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
George Sinner voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Ronald Sorvaag voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Jessica Unruh voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.
Rich Wardner voted to disrespect ND cemeteries.

Here are six ND senators that flipped their vote:

D- John Grabinger, Jamestown, ND, District 12
R- Gary A. Lee, Casselton, ND, District 22
D- Erin Oban, Bismarck, ND, District 35
R- Dave Oehlke, Devils Lake, ND, District 15
R- Nicole Poolman, Bismarck, ND, District 7
R- Jessica Unruh, Beulah, ND, District 33

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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