Corey Mock

Month: April 2015

Lawmaker colleagues sign unusual book for Rep. Glassheim

Grand Forks Herald

Colleagues of North Dakota Rep. Eliot Glassheim signed a repurposed book for him this week. Photo by John Hageman
Colleagues of North Dakota Rep. Eliot Glassheim signed a repurposed book for him this week. Photo by John Hageman

Colleagues of North Dakota Rep. Eliot Glassheim, D-Grand Forks, were preparing a gift for him this week as he battles health problems.

Nearly all of the 94 members of the North Dakota House signed a repurposed book for Glassheim, 77, who returned to Grand Forks last week before the Legislature adjourned. His colleague, Rep. Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks, previously said he has recently been battling an infection, as well as cancer for some time.

Rep. Robert Skarphol, R-Tioga, reported on the House floor Tuesday afternoon that Glassheim was “improving and could potentially go home tomorrow,” which drew applause from fellow lawmakers.

Mock and his wife Jeannie recently bought Glassheim’s used book store, Dr. Eliot’s Twice Sold Tales. They will sell some repurposed books like the one being given to Glassheim, which has clock arms on the cover.

Glassheim of Grand Forks gets standing ovation from N.D. Legislature after hospitalization

Grand Forks Herald

042315.N.BND_.GLASSHEIM

BISMARCK – House lawmakers surprised longtime state Rep. Eliot Glassheim with a standing ovation when he walked into the chamber Wednesday morning after a brief hospital stay for what doctors believe was a mild stroke.

The Grand Forks Democrat rode in a wheelchair to the House chamber, where he stood up and walked to his desk, setting off a chain of applause from fellow representatives.

“That was pretty overwhelming,” he said afterward.

Glassheim, who represents District 18, went to the hospital Sunday because he was having trouble talking and wasn’t feeling well.

The 77-year-old said doctors believe he had a transient ischemic attack, but they didn’t find any blood clots and a scan showed no brain damage. They couldn’t perform an MRI because of his pacemaker, he said.

Glassheim said walking was making him tired and he was short of breath, though he attributed that to blood flow from his heart and not the mild stroke.

Assistant Minority Leader Corey Mock, who wheeled Glassheim down the hallway after the morning session, said it made his day to see Glassheim return to the House chamber. Mock recently bought Glassheim’s used bookstore, Dr. Eliot’s Twice Sold Sales.

Glassheim – who holds a doctorate degree in literature – is serving his 13th session, tied with Rep. Jerry Kelsh of Fullerton as the longest-serving Democrat in the House, though Kelsh spent 18 of his years in the Senate.

Glassheim was first elected to the House in 1974, lost his next election in 1976 and then won his current seat in 1992. He also served 30 years on the Grand Forks City Council.

“It’s not the same without him,” Mock said.

Glassheim was in good spirits, joking about all of the attention he received.

“This is wonderful. I have to get sick more often,” he said.

He also quipped that he was glad he missed Monday’s House vote on the late-session bill introduced by Republicans to reform the state’s oil tax structure.

“I would have had a stroke then,” he said.

Lawmakers kill bill banning sexual orientation-based discrimination in North Dakota

Grand Forks Herald

TOM STROMME.Tribune Rep. Kylie Oversen (D-Grand Forks) urged members to vote in favor of SB 2279 during floor debate on Thursday afternoon.
TOM STROMME.Tribune
Rep. Kylie Oversen (D-Grand Forks) urged members to vote in favor of SB 2279 during floor debate on Thursday afternoon.

BISMARCK – For the third time in six years, North Dakota lawmakers have killed legislation that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, despite warnings from some Democrats and Republicans that it could tarnish the growing state’s image and attract backlash similar to what Indiana and Arkansas have faced in recent days.

Kevin Tengesdal, a gay U.S. Navy veteran from Bismarck who had testified for the bill and helped fill the House balcony in support of it Thursday, brushed away tears and hugged fellow supporters outside the chamber after the vote.

“It was disheartening. When can our voice be heard?” he said.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple, a Republican, said the state should have at least established protections in the areas of housing and employment.

“I’m concerned that we have missed an opportunity to affirm what North Dakotans already believe, which is that discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation is not acceptable,” he said in a statement.

House lawmakers spent about 90 minutes debating Senate Bill 2279, which passed the Senate 25-22 in February and would have added sexual orientation to state law that already protects against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, physical or mental disability or status with respect to marriage or public assistance. Complaints would have been investigated by the state Department of Labor and Human Rights.

Rep. Robin Weisz, R-Hurdsfield, who carried the bill from the House Human Services Committee with an 11-2 do-not-pass recommendation, said the committee listened to a lot of testimony on the “perceived” idea that discrimination is rampant in North Dakota, but “did not receive any testimony that showed any outright discrimination going on.”

“If we’re going to add this as a protected class, we need to be sure that we’re solving a problem,” he said.

That drew a sharp response from Democrats, who referred to the more than 20 people who testified in favor of the bill, including some traveled across the state to share stories of being mistreated at work because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Rep. Joshua Boschee, D-Fargo, a bill sponsor and the state’s first openly gay lawmaker, said that while the discrimination may not be blatant, “We know that it’s happening.

“People have testified that it’s their religious right to do so,” he said. “So what more evidence do we need to say that we need a path for people to visit with their government and say, ‘This happened, will you help me out?’ ”

Twenty-one states, including neighboring Minnesota, have laws protecting workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Boschee noted that two more – Indiana and Arkansas – are moving toward similar protections amid a storm of backlash over their religious-freedom legislation that business leaders and civil rights groups worry would further discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

A dozen Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the bipartisan bill, including Rep. Thomas Beadle, R-Fargo, a bill sponsor. He said many large employers and prominent businesspeople in North Dakota backed the legislation, fearing its defeat would send a message that the nation’s fastest-growing state “is only open to some.”

“And while we can see the backlash in Indiana, the mere perception of LGBT discrimination will have negative consequences for our state,” he said.

House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, opposed the bill, saying existing state law provides sufficient protections and the bill’s definitions were too vague and would have unknown consequences for businesses.

“I think there’s an unending list of ramifications for doing this,” he said.

Assistant Minority Leader Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks, who called the issue “the discrimination movement of our generation,” requested Thursday that the bill be divided into two parts.

That required House members to vote separately on banning discrimination in public accommodations and services – a concern raised by bill opponents who worried that business owners would be forced to provide goods and services counter to their religious beliefs – and in housing, employment, credit transactions and brokerage services.

The House defeated the public accommodations division 30-61, with three members absent or not voting. The second division failed 35-56, defeating the bill as a whole.

The margin was close to the House’s 34-54 vote that killed a similar bill in 2009 after it had passed the Senate 27-19. Two years ago, the Senate rejected a similar bill 21-26.

Boschee said Thursday’s defeat was frustrating, but he predicted the legislation will keep coming back in future sessions until it passes – a sentiment shared by Rep. Kathy Hawken, R-Fargo, who said the emails she received from constituents were 4-to-1 in favor of the bill.

“It will happen. It is a matter of when,” she said.