5 things to know today: Delayed starts, Ballot initiatives, Vaccine bills, 'Nuisance dogs', Silver gloves
A select rundown of stories found on InForum.
1. Moorhead, Dilworth schools announce delayed starts due to blizzard warning
A blizzard warning for the metro area has impacted local schools and other public services.
Moorhead's public and non-public schools and buses will be two hours late on Wednesday, Feb. 15, according to the school's website .
All before-school activities are canceled, as well as morning Early Intervention Services, JumpStart and Community Education classes.
Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton schools and buses will also be two hours late on Wednesday, Feb. 15, according to their website .
Rebel Kids Care and the school's Early Childhood morning classes are also canceled, according to their Facebook .
All MATBUS services were suspended at 6:45 p.m. on Feb. 14 due to the incoming blizzard, according to the city of Moorhead. The ground transportation center at 502 NP Ave. in Fargo closed at 7 p.m.
MATBUS staff will be monitoring the weather conditions into Wednesday, Feb. 15. Riders should be aware of possible service impacts throughout Feb. 15 as well.
The West Fargo Public Library closed its doors at 5 p.m. on Feb. 14 in anticipation of the storm. Events that were meant to be held this evening were canceled, according to the West Fargo Public Library.
2. North Dakota House passes bills cracking down on signatures for ballot initiatives after 2022 dispute
From the Bismarck Tribune via Forum News Service
Two bills brought in the wake of ballot measure petition fraud allegations last year have passed the North Dakota House of Representatives.
Voters last fall approved Measure 1 for term limits on the governor and state lawmakers. The citizen-initiated measure was embroiled in fraud allegations that reached the state Supreme Court, which mandated the public vote on the measure.
Former Secretary of State Al Jaeger had initially rejected the measure, citing irregularities such as circulator affidavit handwriting discrepancies, noncitizens circulating petitions, and pay-per-signature bonuses prohibited by state law. Attorney General Drew Wrigley called the alleged fraud "so obvious and inherent throughout."
House Bill 1230, brought by Rep. Mike Nathe, R-Bismarck, passed in a 61-30 vote on Tuesday.
The bill would impose a fine of $2 per invalid signature for willful submission of invalid signatures totaling 30% or more of all signatures for a measure placed on the ballot. Invalid signatures would be ones missing components of addresses or ones that are illegible, for example.
Signature-gathering businesses that violate that provision and are convicted of fraud also could be charged with a misdemeanor and banned from doing business in the state for five years, under the bill. Fraud would involve signatures gathered illegally or forged.
Nathe called the Supreme Court's September ruling a "disastrous decision" and "a big black eye," and denounced Measure 1 as fraudulent.
"You just don't get to put a measure out there and walk away from any of the bad stuff," Nathe told the House.
Opponents called the bill punitive and vengeful.
3. North Dakota House passes several COVID-19 vaccine bills
From the Bismarck Tribune via Forum News Service
Several bills dealing with COVID-19 vaccinations passed the North Dakota House of Representatives on Tuesday and moved to the Senate.
House Bill 1200, introduced by Rep. Jeff Hoverson, R-Minot, passed in a 78-13 vote. The bill would ban colleges and universities from requiring or promoting COVID-19 shots for students, specifically exclude COVID-19 vaccines from the state's school immunization requirements, and extend the state's COVID-19 "vaccine passport" ban for another two years.
The "vaccine passport" ban prohibits state and local governments and businesses from requiring vaccination documents for access, funds or services. The ban passed in 2021 includes numerous exemptions for entities such as prisons, public health units and health care providers, among others.
House Bill 1207, brought by Rep. Dick Anderson, R-Willow City, passed 86-5. The bill would require Health and Human Services to publish online data of "vaccine adverse events." The department may use the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System data.
The system is for reporting possible side effects of vaccinations so federal health officials can detect possible problems with vaccines. Anyone can make reports to the system.
Hoverson's House Bill 1502 passed 87-4. The bill would prohibit hospitals from denying care to a patient based on his or her COVID-19 vaccination status.
Hoverson's House Bill 1406 failed 32-59. The bill would have required the state Department of Health and Human Services to cover the costs of a person's treatment and diagnostics if they suffered "any physical injury due to receiving" a messenger RNA or COVID-19 vaccine.
4. ‘This isn’t about Chihuahuas’: North Dakota House advances bill to clamp down on ‘nuisance dogs’
North Dakota lawmakers unleashed personal jabs on one another during a debate over whether to tighten regulations on free-roaming neighborhood dogs.
The state House of Representatives voted 56-34 on Monday, Feb. 13, to pass House Bill 1364, which would expand when a dog can be declared a public nuisance and put to death. The Senate will take up the legislation next month.
Supporters of the proposal sponsored by Rep. SuAnn Olson, R-Baldwin, say it would protect people on their own land from menacing canines with delinquent owners. Opponents argue roving dogs are a local problem and a sweeping state law would result in the needless killing of pets.
Burleigh County resident Sean Johnson told the House Judiciary Committee last week he suggested the legislation to Olson after a “dangerous Rottweiler” terrorized his neighbors on private property for nearly two years.
Read more from Forum News Service's Jeremy Turley
5. Fargo South girl wins Silver Gloves boxing national title
Jesse Barbot has been around the Fargo-Moorhead boxing game for many years, and it’s not often he gets to talk about a national champion. But that’s what Sydnee Gorder did over the weekend.
The Fargo South freshman, who trains out of Barbot Boxing & Fitness in Fargo, won her 15-16 year old female welterweight class in the Silver Gloves National Championship in Independence, Mo. She defeated Emma Carmean, a Region 8 champion from California, via unanimous decision.
“She’s just a natural athlete,” Barbot said. “She had some Tae Kwon Do experience in her past but that doesn’t always translate to boxing. Just a very coachable kid.”
Gorder has been boxing for two years. Her path to the national tournament started at the state level, where she went uncontested. She won her region which consisted of competitors from North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Silver Gloves, which consists of boxers ages 16 and under, is the younger sibling of the more well-known Golden Gloves, which has a maximum age limit of 18.
Barbot said he doesn’t recall other boxing clubs that existed in the area to have a champion at the Silver Gloves level in the last 10-20 years. That includes a club put together by former professional boxer Andy Kolle, who ran a club in Moorhead.
“I know it’s been at least 20 years and I’m sure it’s longer than that,” Barbot said.