ND Transgender Sports Bill gutted and replaced with study

Transgender Sports Bill
Transgender Sports Bill(KFYR)
Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 3:16 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - In the moments leading up to the North Dakota State Senate voting on the controversial Transgender Sports Bill, lawmakers gutted the bill and replaced it with a study on the very matter.

With the bill passing in this form, the laws and policies of high school sports would remain as they are.

As other states pass and enact their own version, North Dakota lawmakers put their feet on the brakes to look at their own bill and gauge the responses across the country.

As lawmakers debated the moral make-up of the bill, the option to change the bill to a study was introduced and it seemed like a more palatable approach.

The study will look into the impacts a policy like the one proposed would have on the state.

“We’d have the time to find out what some of these other states, if they find language that works, stuff that is not a violation of Title IX, that is able to hold up in court, and then maybe we can pass that. And make sure what we pass doesn’t become an unnecessary lawsuit” Sen. Kristin Roers, R-Fargo, said.

The bill in its new form passed 32 - 15.

Those who were against the bill as an actual change in policy said they supported it as an inconsequential study.

But supporters of the original version say the study doesn’t go far enough.

“Transgenderism is not natural. I don’t know how anyone could ever ever agree to something other than that,” Sen. David Clemens, R-West Fargo, said.

With the bill being transformed, the changes must be discussed and approved by House members.

The State House forwarded their version of it with a 65 – 26 vote in February.

It’s possible the House undoes the changes and makes it an actual change in policy once again.

At the end of the day, this bill needs to be passed by both chambers and they need to be the exact same.

And so far, each chamber has made many changes.

From the beginning, lawmakers framed it as a Transgender right versus Women’s rights debate.

Supporters said they wanted to protect opportunities and athletic scholarships for girls by not having them compete against biologically male competitors.

Those against called it a thinly veiled attempt to restrict opportunities for transgender students.

The bill evolved over the past few months following rounds of changes in response to protests, including having it only apply to anyone under the age of 18.

Lawmakers who supported the bill did this to avoid butting heads with the NCAA.

This is a similar concern for governors like Gov. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., who recently said she won’t sign the bill as-is because of the conflict it has with collegiate athletics.

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