Highway Patrol Notified Of Harassing Phone Call To Lawmaker Over SB2279

Given the furious response to the failure of SB2279 last week – up to and including the state’s largest newspaper listing lawmakers who voted against the bill on a sort of “wanted poster” on the front page – it’s not surprising that lawmakers are getting some ugly feedback.

But it seems today the feedback got so ugly security had to be notified at the capitol. That per Rep. Vicki Steiner’s (R-Dickinson)’s Twitter feed.

— Vicky Steiner (@SteinerVicky) April 6, 2015

That’s…not good. Strong feelings about legislation are to be expected, but lawmakers should never feel unsafe. I’ve put in a call to Rep. Meier, who is a Republican from Bismarck, for a reaction.

UPDATE: I spoke to Rep. Meier and she described the call for me. “I thought the individual was joking. He said something about the front page of the Fargo Forum and I laughed,” she said. “The he said ‘you think this is funny you stupid b-i-t-c-h,'” she continued spelling out the pejorative.

Meier said after that he “kind of went off and got really angry” at which point she hung up. She went to discuss the issue in the House Majority Leader’s office, and while there someone from the same number called back. At that point Rep. Tom Beadle, a Republican from Fargo who actually co-sponsored and voted for SB2279, answered the phone for Rep. Meier.

“All you could hear was eff this and eff that,” Meier said. “He didn’t really threaten,” she said but added that he “seemed really unstable with his tone. Meier thought it best if the Highway Patrol, which provides security at the capitol, was aware of the situation so they could contact the individual.

“I’m a big girl and I have no problem with answer back, but any time someone uses a ton of profanity and is yelling at me on the phone you have to kind of wonder.”

Meanwhile, Democrats aren’t done grandstanding on the bill. They’ve sent a letter to Governor Jack Dalrymple demanding that he issue an executive order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation for state jobs. Except, that’s already a policy apparently:

Jeff Zent, a spokesman for Dalrymple, said a memo was sent to cabinet-level state agencies this morning to remind agency heads of the administration’s policy on discrimination.

“He reminded … all cabinet agencies to hire employees and retain employees based on performance. He opposes all forms of discrimination,” said Zent, adding the governor would review what the Democrats have submitted.

If Democrats cared more about policy than manufacturing headlines for themselves maybe they would have asked the executive branch about the status quo before sending an open letter to the media.

Then again, there’s this:

 

What’s frustrating about the battle over this issue is that it seems to be less about producing measure real-world changes than manufacturing a political platform Demcorats can exploit.

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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