Beware of Measure 1, it is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Supporters of Measure 1, which will be on the ballot this November, call it an "anti-corruption amendment," but this poorly written measure will amend the North Dakota Constitution with far reaching negative impacts.
Of course, we all want and deserve transparency in public matters, and especially when it comes to our elected representatives. But Measure 1 goes far beyond common sense and establishes a constitutionally-protected, and publicly-funded, ethics commission. Based on the wording of this proposed amendment, it could be more accurately described as a "witch hunt commission."
If you like what is going on in Washington, D.C., with endless investigations, unsupported claims of wrongdoing, character assassination and obstruction, Measure 1 is for you. For the majority of us who want transparency and good public policy, we must vote "no" on Measure 1.
For those who disregard my opinion based on my political views and beliefs, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota takes the same position on Measure 1. Full disclosure, the ACLU and I are rarely on the same side of important issues, but when we are that should mean something.
From its statement on Measure 1, ACLU North Dakota states, "Though it is being promoted as an 'anti-corruption amendment,' Measure 1 is actually so poorly written that it would institute a host of new restrictions and regulations on political speech and advocacy that would violate the First Amendment rights of all citizens." Well said.
In addition to requiring the establishment of an ethics commission, the first section of the proposed amendment is so poorly written that it would force private citizens to disclose expenses paid (for hotel, gas, food) when they travel to Bismarck to testify on proposed legislation. As a legislator, I welcomed it when citizens testified before our committees, and I would hate to see this important right of North Dakotans infringed and citizens start to feel disenfranchised.
Ballot Language Misleading When you are in the voting booth for the coming election, the wording for Measure 1 that appears on the ballot is vague to the point of deception. If a voter has not looked at the wording of the measure itself and merely relies on the five-sentence summary on the ballot, the voter could unknowingly support an amendment that goes far beyond that simple summary.
As always, our form of government relies on informed citizens and I ask all voters to research the true scope and impact of Measure 1. Then join me and ACLU North Dakota in voting "no."
Grande represented the 41st District in the N.D. Legislature from 1996 to 2014. She is a wife, mom, grandma, lover of life and Jesus. Opinions are solely her own.