Capitol Chatter

By Diane Newberry

and Bilal Suleiman


Big Gavel Energy

“Some of us have had trouble hearing the gavel,” Rep. George Keiser said. “We wish to provide to you a token of a present that might help you do your job just a little bit better,” Keiser said to Speaker of the House Lawrence Klemin as he raised the present, a giant wooden gavel. Klemin graciously accepted his new gavel and used it to close the floor session March 29.

There’s a  rst time for everything

A few representatives quietly protested, but North Dakota lawmak- ers heard a Hindu prayer to start the floor sessions on April 1 and 2. “Do your work with the welfare of others in mind,” said Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hindu- ism. Zed gave the prayer in Sanskrit and English in both the House and Senate. Zed has visited about 17 state legislatures and was the first Hindu to open the U.S. Senate floor with a Hindu prayer in 2007.

Come on, ref!

For the third consecutive session, the Press Team took last place at the Capitol Classic, a charitable bas- ketball shootout that raised $13,000 for North Dakota Special Olympics this year. The results at the Capitol Classic are indicative of the beating that media has taken in recent years. Our excuse for losing: The breaking

news story of a quadruple homicide at a Mandan business that morning, which depleted our roster of report- ers and left us short-handed. A team of lobbyists took first place for the fourth consecutive session.

Family Matters

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler invites parents, guardians and family mem- bers of North Dakota students to apply for her newly unveiled “family engagement cabinet,” which she an- nounced in a press conference April 3. Baesler said she hopes to have

20 to 25 members in the cabinet. The cabinet would meet quarterly, beginning in May, and would set its own agenda. Applicants must submit a written summary explaining their interest in the cabinet.

Hittin’ the road

Two lawmakers are tied for hav- ing the longest drive to the Capitol. Sen. Janne Myrdal, R-Edinburg,

and Rep. David Munson, R-Os- nabrock, both have a 250-mile trek to Bismarck. Rep. Bert Anderson, R-Crosby, comes in third with a 230- mile drive from the northwest corner of the state. The legislator with the shortest drive to the Capitol is Sen. Erin Oban, D-Bismarck, who lives three blocks away from the Capitol. “I have the shortest drive but the longest walk,” Oban said jokingly.

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