Bismarck City Commission denies hate crimes ordinance after public hearing

Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 9:46 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 14, 2022 at 11:07 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The Bismarck City Commission held a public hearing during its meeting Tuesday evening regarding Ordinance 6501. The Commission was taking public input when considering changes to the ordinance that involves hate crimes.

The ordinance would have added hate crimes to the existing simple assault, harassment, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct ordinances. The proposed changes would include language that takes into account the victim’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or other factors. Fargo and Grand Forks have similar language for similar crimes.

The City Commission room was packed with people, and the meeting lasted over three hours. Dozens of people offered their opinions about the ordinance. Many people had issues concerning the language and one pointed out sometimes the best option is to do nothing.

“For the most part it is highly unnecessary, there is always a side agenda with these things,” said Joshua Turnis of Bismarck. “Adding more into law is not always helpful and it also creates confusion.”

The commissioners denied the ordinance four to one.

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