NewsThe West

Out West Roundup: Huskers’ message to white nationalist: ‘Hate Will Never Win’

Author: Associated Press - February 16, 2018 - Updated: March 28, 2018

AP-Huskers.jpg
Nebraska NCAA college basketball player Evan Taylor speaks at a press conference as head coach Tim Miles looks on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Nebraska men’s basketball team planned to take a public stand against the views of a university student who described himself as a white nationalist in a widely distributed online video. Coach Tim Miles said the team would wear T-shirts reading “Hate Will Never Win” at the game against Rutgers in Lincoln. (Chris Machian/Omaha World-Herald via AP)

Nebraska

Huskers’ message to white nationalist: ‘Hate Will Never Win’

OMAHA — The Nebraska men’s basketball team plans to take a public stand opposing the views of a university student who calls himself a white nationalist in a widely distributed online video.

Coach Tim Miles said Friday the team planned to wear T-shirts reading “Hate Will Never Win” at the game against Rutgers in Lincoln. Players also were making a video rejecting racism and hate to be shown at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

“The No. 1 thing, our guys realize they are in a place to make a great impact,” Miles said. “The exposure over the next six weeks, their message can be strong and they can have a positive impact on our campus community.”

In the videos that roiled the campus this week, biochemistry major Daniel Kleve of Norfolk professed to be the most active white nationalist in the state, disparaged Martin Luther King Jr., African-Americans and Mexicans and supported violence.

The group that released the initial video was Antifa Nebraska and is not affiliated with the campus, Nebraska spokeswoman Leslie Reed said.

“I want to feel safe on campus, the guys want to feel safe,” said Glynn Watson Jr., a junior point guard. “There are a lot of people out there like (Kleve), and you can’t change that. We’re OK. We want to do this for the people who don’t feel like they’re OK, the students on campus who don’t have (a platform) to say anything.”

Utah

Utah taxpayers paid for hotel linked to prostitute report

SALT LAKE CITY — A former Utah lawmaker purchased at least two hotel rooms with taxpayer money that he is accused of using to meet up with a prostitute, according to copies of his receipts provided to The Associated Press.

The DailyMail.com reported allegations last week that former Republican Rep. Jon Stanard twice hired a prostitute last year, leading House and state elections officials to review whether public funds or campaign money were used for hotel stays that the report alleges Stanard used for the trysts.

Receipts provided by the Utah House show he was reimbursed about $225 for hotel rooms in Salt Lake City in June and August 2017 when he was attending legislative meetings at the state Capitol. He lives four hours away in the resort town of St. George.

The dates, hotel names and a room number correspond with text messages reported by the DailyMail.com.

Stanard, who abruptly resigned last Tuesday night, has not returned phone and text messages seeking comment.

Republican House Speaker Greg Hughes said he didn’t yet know if the House would ask Stanard to return the money or what the next steps would be to determine if the report was correct.

Even if the allegations are true, “our hotel policy doesn’t dictate what a person is allowed to do in the hotel and he was here and in attendance for all legislative business,” House Chief of Staff Greg Hartley said.

He said he believes lawmakers will likely ask for a refund to avoid even the appearance of paying for a questionable hotel stay.

The DailyMail.com reported that a prostitute, Brie Taylor, said Stanard twice paid her for sex last year during business trips to Salt Lake City and that he arranged the meetings with a number for a state-issued phone listed on his legislative profile.

Stanard, who is married, had served five years in the House. He voted last year for stricter state prostitution laws, including raising the penalty for people who are convicted twice of solicitation.

New Mexico

New Mexico lawmakers embrace effort to regulate dark money

SANTA FE — A state-by-state initiative aimed at regulating and possibly limiting the role of money in politics through an amendment to the U.S. Constitution has won its first endorsement from a state legislative chamber.

The New Mexico House of Representative voted 41-28 last week to urge Congress to restore greater federal and local regulation of political spending that influences elections and governance. State Senate action is pending.

The effort seeks to reverse Supreme Court actions including the 2010 Citizens United decision that cleared the way for unlimited independent elections spending. It sparked a spirited floor debate Wednesday about political spending and free speech.

Similar measures are slated for introduction soon in Alabama and New Hampshire. The non-binding resolution called a “memorial” also pledges support for a constitutional amendment to end partisan gerrymandering.

Wyoming

‘Wyoming Promise’ initiative won’t be on 2018 ballot

CHEYENNE — Efforts to call for a constitutional amendment that would move toward changing the role of money in politics through a Wyoming ballot initiative have fallen short for the 2018 election. But its proponents are confident they will have the petition signatures they need for the 2020 ballot.

The efforts were spearheaded by Wyoming Promise, an affiliate organization of American Promise. Their proponents are calling for a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would effectively overturn the Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.

In that case, the conservative organization Citizens United successfully argued that law prohibiting corporations and unions from using their money in political speech violated the First Amendment.
“The only way we can get dark money out of politics is an amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” said Wyoming Promise Treasurer Shelby Shadwell of Laramie. “Right now, the law says money is speech and corporations are people.”

In May, Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Murray certified a state ballot initiative sponsored and authored by Wyoming Promise. Titled “An Act to Promote Free and Fair Elections,” the ballot initiative could bring about a vote if it gathers 38,818 signatures – 15 percent of the total number of ballots cast in the 2016 election – by the start of the 2018 budget session of the Wyoming Legislature. With around 10,000 signatures just before the deadline, it was clear organizers wouldn’t have the signatures needed in time.

But it doesn’t feel like a defeat for Shadwell. In fact, he said he’s encouraged by the initiative’s momentum. And the signatures collected in the last eight months aren’t meaningless. If the organization meets the 38,818 signature threshold by Nov. 15, its initiative could appear on the 2020 ballot.

“We don’t have to start over,” Shadwell said. “We’re pretty confident we’re going to get there.”

Kansas

Kansas Senate votes to condemn pornography

TOPEKA, Kansas — The Kansas Senate condemned pornography last week, citing a host of problems including infidelity, objectification of women and erectile dysfunction.

Senators passed a resolution in a 35-4 vote after little debate. The resolution, which has no legal effect, comes a year after the House approved a similar measure.

“Pornography exploits and humiliates those being used and it dehumanizes the user at the same time,” said Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee.

No other senators spoke in support or opposition, though a number of senators co-sponsored the resolution and a handful voted against the measure.

“Seriously? We’ll see how excited they are about public health when it comes to guns,” Sen. Barbara Bollier, R-Mission Hills, said after the vote.

The resolution says that pornography is potentially biologically addictive and is linked to lessened desire. It also cited dissatisfaction in marriage and infidelity, and said its effects are “extremely difficult for the afflicted individual to address alone.”

Exposure to porn often serves as sex education for children and teenagers and shapes their sexual understanding, the resolution says. The resolution draws a connection between porn and sex trafficking.

Opponents raised concerns about freedom of expression. Sen. David Haley, D-Kansas City, said he holds the First Amendment sacrosanct.

“Even though just a resolution, the danger in this language being affirmed by the majority in this chamber … I fear it could lead to unintended consequences in many ways,” Haley said.

The resolution also notes that porn “has contributed to a rise in the occurrence of erectile dysfunction in young men.”

North Dakota

North Dakota’s Burgum repays $37K for Super Bowl suite

BISMARCK, North Dakota — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said he has repaid a Minnesota electric utility $37,000 for tickets the company provided him and his wife for the Super Bowl in Minneapolis.

The Republican governor said last week he reimbursed Xcel Energy “to eliminate even the perception of any conflict.”

Burgum and first lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum watched the game from a suite provided by Xcel, which serves more than 90,000 customers in Grand Forks, Fargo and Minot. He said before going that he planned to use the opportunity to talk with Xcel officials about their service and infrastructure in North Dakota.

The trip drew criticism even from within his own party.

“We can’t be doing that,” GOP Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner said. “I don’t think the governor was influenced in any way but we as state officials just need to use good judgment.”

Burgum, in a statement, said the tickets “have not influenced, and will not influence, my decision-making as governor. However, to eliminate even the perception of any conflict, I have reimbursed Xcel Energy for the full cost of the tickets.”

His office said that an ethics policy was being written for the governor and his staff. But it was in progress before the governor was criticized over the Super Bowl, according to Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki.
“There wasn’t one in the governor’s office when we moved in,” Nowatzki said of an ethics policy. Burgum’s lawyer, Leslie Bakken Oliver, has been crafting such a policy for several months, the spokesman said.
“We don’t have a timeline” for when it will be done, Nowatzki said.

During his campaign for governor, Burgum often talked about “reinventing government,” shaking up the “good old boy” party establishment and reining in “runaway spending” as the state’s oil boom was fading.

Associated Press

Associated Press