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5 things to know today: Representative expelled, Legislature harassment, Halting aid, Check-in system, Teacher vaccinations

A rundown of some of the best stories found on Inforum.

North Dakota Rep. Luke Simons, R-Dickinson, speaks at a hearing on his possible expulsion over sexual harassment accusations on Thursday, March 4. Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service

1. North Dakota House expels lawmaker accused of sexual harassment

In an unprecedented move, the North Dakota House of Representatives has expelled embattled Rep. Luke Simons over recently surfaced sexual harassment allegations.

The Republican-dominated lower chamber voted 69-25 on Thursday, March 4, to remove Simons from office after a heated three-hour debate. The expulsion resolution required a two-thirds majority to pass.

Simons is the first lawmaker to be expelled from the Legislature since North Dakota became a state, according to legislative officials.

Read more from Forum News Service's Jeremy Turley

2. Harassment allegations against North Dakota rep reveal crack in system, lawmakers say


North Dakota Rep. Luke Simons, R-Dickinson, listens as House Majority Leader Chet Pollert outlines the process for Simons' possible expulsion from the chamber on Wednesday, March 3. Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service

Erin Oban said she can’t help but feel partially responsible for the alleged sexual harassment some women have recently experienced in the halls of the North Dakota Capitol.

The Bismarck Democratic senator said she was verbally harassed by a fellow legislator when she was new to the upper chamber but didn’t report the incident to avoid causing trouble. She’s afraid her inaction might have perpetuated the abusive behavior.

“I was trying to prove that I earned a place to be there, and I didn’t want to make that harder,” Oban said.

Read more from Forum News Service's Michelle Griffith and Jeremy Turley

3. Fargo-area law enforcement halts aid to Minnesota police until officers train on deadly force law

Red River Valley SWAT members unload a remote controlled robot Tuesday, April 30, at the site of a standoff on the 1400 block of Fifth Street South. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

As Minnesota law enforcement agencies along the Red River wonder how a state law changing deadly force guidelines will work in practice , some North Dakota agencies are telling officers not to cross the state border until they are trained on the new rules.


Last year, the Minnesota Legislature updated its statute on deadly force. Before, officers could use deadly force if a reasonable apparent threat of death or great bodily harm was present.

The word “apparent” was replaced with a three-pronged test that went into effect Monday, March 1. Officers must articulate a threat with specificity, know death or great bodily harm is likely to occur if an officer doesn’t use deadly force, and the threat must be addressed with deadly force without unreasonable delay.

Read more from The Forum's April Baumgarten

4. 2 Fargo schools testing visitor check-in system that screens for sex offenders

102219.N.FF.SCHOOLBOARD Lewis and Clark Elementary School is seen Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 1729 16th St. S., Fargo.
Lewis & Clark Elementary School in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Under a new pilot program that aims to boost security, two Fargo elementary schools have begun checking each visitor to see if they're a registered sex offender.

The system from Texas-based Raptor Technologies was installed mid-February at Lewis & Clark and Lincoln elementary schools, said AnnMarie Campbell, a spokeswoman for Fargo Public Schools.

Visitors must provide identification, such as a driver’s license, that's scanned by the system which checks the sex offender registries of all 50 states and also checks a custom school district database that includes child custody alerts and other unwanted or banned individuals.


Read more from The Forum's C.S. Hagen

5. Many Fargo, West Fargo students to distance learn as teachers receive vaccines

generic vaccine image
Fargo Cass Public Health is inviting school workers in the county to receive COVID-19 vaccine. Forum file photo.

Fargo Cass Public Health has invited preschool and K-12 school workers to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, a development that will affect Fargo and West Fargo public school operations.

FCPH issued a statement Thursday, March 4, announcing that area school workers were welcome to receive COVID-19 vaccine as the final priority group in the Phase 1B group to start receiving vaccine.

"We’ve had great success in filling appointments in our vaccine clinics. That, combined with an increase in the amount of vaccine we have received, has allowed us to transition quickly through the last priority groups in Phase 1B," said Suzanne Schaefer, FCPH director of nursing.

Read more from The Forum's Dave Olson

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