A bipartisan bill to display the flags of “each Indian nation in this state” at the state Capitol was inexplicably killed today in the North Dakota Senate.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Richard Marcellais (D-Belcourt), called it an important gesture to improve the state’s relationship with Native Americans.
“This bill is all about trust and respect. Displaying the five Native American nation flags in the Memorial Hall of the state Capitol would be a first to create a dynamic movement forward,” he said, urging fellow lawmakers to vote “yes.”
The bill’s failure, by a vote of 23-21, was unusual for a few reasons.
1) It was a bipartisan bill. It was sponsored by an equal number of Republicans (Sen. Nicole Poolman of Bismarck, Rep. Jason Dockter of Bismarck and Rep. Wayne Trottier of Northwood) and Democrats (Marcellais, Rep. Corey Mock of Grand Forks and Sen. Joan Heckaman of New Rockford).
2) It received a unanimous “do pass” recommendation from the Senate Government and Veterans Affairs Committee.
3) When it came time to vote, nobody spoke against the bill.
Here’s how the Senate voted:
SB 2287 FAILED
Yea 23 Nay 21 N/V 3