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Richard Shafer, Grand Forks, Published April 13 2013

Letter: A repressive legislative agenda

North Dakota Senate Bill 1332 aimed at eliminating the voter affidavit process represents another blow to wider democratic citizen participation in North Dakota. Many potential voters in the Fargo area who don’t have driver’s licenses or state-issued photo identification will find it hard to get to the Department of Transportation office near the West Acres mall to apply. In Grand Forks, the office is located on the far north side of the city and is inconvenient for almost every resident.

Both houses of the Legislature have been busy this term obstructing individual liberties – including four new bills to deny women their reproductive rights – and actively resisting moves to make it illegal to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Last week, the attorney general asked for $400,000 in state funds to defend the unconstitutional bills.

The New York Times reports that our Legislature is emboldened by the opportunity to use revenues from oil development to carry out its repressive social agenda. What a waste. The Taliban-like religious zeal of this Republican-controlled Legislature is unfortunate at a time when American society is generally moving toward an expansion of human rights and a more inclusive society.