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In a First, North Dakota House Expels Member

March 8, 2021 by TWN Staff
At the state Capitol in Bismarck, North Dakota on 3-4-2021, Rep. Luke Simons, R-Dickinson, speaks to members of the House to plead his case against his expulsion from the chamber due to accusations of workplace harassment and sexual harassment over the course of four years. (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)

BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota House of Representatives expelled Republican Rep. Luke Simons on Thursday on charges he “exhibited a history of hostile, threatening, and inappropriate behavior, most frequently toward women.”

The vote to remove him was 69-25.

According to the resolution, Simons admitted to making “a heated statement containing multiple expletives directed at a female member of the House of Representatives, in the plain view of the public, in a crowded area on the Capitol grounds while the Legislative Assembly was convened for the 2021 legislative session.”

It also cites “numerous other reports of inappropriate behavior from Rep. Simons … that corrupted the integrity of the legislative branch.”

The Bismarck Tribune reported the expulsion is believed to be the first in state history. Even the format was unusual — the resolution was introduced and debated in a House committee instead of the whole House, a procedure not seen since 1967, the newspaper said.

Simons was first elected to represent District 36 in 2016, and had recently been re-elected to a second term in 2020.

Vacancies in the North Dakota House are filled by the district committee of the political party that holds the seat. A replacement must be named within 21 days of the vacancy, who will serve until the next general election or a special election is called by the governor.

Following the vote, Simons referred reporters to his attorney, Lynn Boughey, who said they will review their options, and “as discussed, taking this to the North Dakota Supreme Court is an option.”

“I have to talk to my client to determine how he wants to proceed,” Boughey said.

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