BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s Republican Gov. Doug Burgum on Tuesday evening signed two transgender athlete bans into law, effectively prohibiting transgender girls and women from joining female sports teams in K-12 and college.
Lawmakers in the House and Senate passed the bills with veto-proof majorities this year. If the governor had vetoed the bills or refused to sign them, the bills likely would’ve still become law.
At least 19 other states have imposed restrictions on transgender athletes. Republican lawmakers across the U.S. have drafted hundreds of laws this year to push back on LGBTQ+ freedoms, especially targeting transgender people’s everyday lives — including sports, health care, bathrooms, workplaces and schools.
The Biden administration this month proposed a rule, which still faces a lengthy approval process, to forbid outright bans on transgender athletes.
In 2021, Burgum vetoed a nearly identical bill that would have banned transgender girls from playing on girls’ teams in public schools. Lawmakers didn’t have enough votes that year to override the veto.
This year, lawmakers wrote new legislation to replicate and expand that bill — including at the college level. Those bills are now law.
Trisha Ahmed is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow Trisha Ahmed on Twitter: @TrishaAhmed15.