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Published May 16, 2023

Human Relations Ordinance Postponed Again

Written by
Lydia Hoverson
| The Dakotan
The Minot City Council votes to table the Human Relations Committee ordinance. (Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan)
The Minot City Council votes to table the Human Relations Committee ordinance. (Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan)

Packed Room 

lydia.hoverson@mydakotan.com

MINOT – An ordinance to create a Human Relations Committee that brought in a packed room at the Minot City Council meeting Monday was tabled for a second time.

The HCR, originally created in 1976 but has been dormant for over a decade, was created to be a place people could go to if they felt they had been discriminated against based on race, color, sex, religion, or national origin. The committee would not be able to take any action itself but could make recommendations to Council after looking into cases. The current goals of the committee would be to provide leadership in civil rights and to promote diversity.

The Council passed the HCR ordinance on first reading last month with new wording, adding the categories of sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, survivors of sexual assault, past criminal conviction, citizenship status, source of income, and military or veteran status. 

Alderwoman Carrie Evans, who presented the idea of bringing the committee back, said she hopes it is a precursor to an anti-discrimination ordinance. The Council unanimously approved to table the item two weeks ago due to Alderman Stephan Podrygula’s absence. The Council postponed the item again Monday due to Mayor Tom Ross’ absence.

Room packed as the Minot City Council discusses a Human Relations Committee. (Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan)

“I’m concerned about voting on this, given the controversial nature of it, and the fact that our mayor is gone,” said Podrygula. 

Podrygula told the Council he appreciated that they held the item due to his absence. Evans, however, thought differently about tabling the item for Ross due to a different experience with the Council.

“I plan to vote against that, because I still have very much on my mind when a motion was made for the item to have me return after bearing two family members with COVID, when you guys had the discussion on the flag, it was not carried,” said Evans. “So from that day forward I heard loud and clear how Council felt about me, so I cannot support a motion to do the same thing.”

“In response to Alderwoman Evans, I would say we learned from that experience,” said Alderman Mark Jantzer. “We tabled this last time when Alderman Podrygula was not able to be here, and I think this motion is in order.”

The Council voted five to one to table the item.

The HCR passed unanimously on the first reading a month ago, but after receiving much pushback about the new wording, some Council members have expressed that they felt the old wording still protects everyone and they did not want to rush into adding new wording.

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