NATIONAL NEWS

North Dakota advances suite of restrictions on trans rights

Apr 4, 2023, 5:03 PM | Updated: 6:06 pm

The North Dakota Senate has passed a series of bills that would restrict transgender people’s rights in sports, health care, schools, workplaces and daily life.

Doctors would be prohibited from providing gender-affirming care to people under 18, and transgender girls and women wouldn’t be allowed to join female sports teams in K-12 and college, under bills that passed with veto-proof majorities in the Senate and House. If the governor vetoes the bills, then the Senate and House could override his decision and turn those bills into law.

Democratic Sen. Ryan Braunberger, of Fargo, said on the Senate floor that he knew he was gay since he was a boy, and laws restricting LGBTQ freedoms had contributed to his decision to attempt suicide.

“I was lucky to survive that suicide attempt — to be here — but many others have not and will not,” Braunberger said. If the bills pass, then “kids like me across the state will feel like the world is against them. They’ll eventually feel like they can no longer go on.”

Others who spoke in opposition to the bills said the measures were often confusing, difficult to enforce, discriminatory and in violation of federal laws. But supporters said the bills would prevent children from making decisions about their identity that they would later regret, and they would bolster the rights of people who are not transgender.

Republican Sen. Janne Myrdal, of Edinburg, spoke in support of the bills on the Senate floor and said more than a dozen states have passed what she called “women’s sports laws” that restrict transgender people from participating in sports.

“None of these states have lost federal funds. None of them have lost the ability to host NCAA tournaments,” Myrdal said. “Claims that North Dakota risks being punished are simply not evidenced.”

The Senate also revived an effort to stop teachers and government employees from acknowledging the personal pronouns a transgender student or colleague uses.

Originally, the pronoun restrictions were in a controversial bill that Republican Gov. Doug Burgum vetoed last month. The Senate had quickly overruled his decision, but the House fell a few votes short and the bill died.

But on Monday, senators took language from the dead pronoun bill and stuck it into a bathroom bill that would restrict transgender students’ access to restrooms. The newly amended bill must get approved by the House and governor to become law — or, if the House approves the bill with a veto-proof majority, the governor’s approval wouldn’t be needed.

The Senate amended other transgender bills, which are returning to the House for approval. One would restrict transgender people’s access to bathrooms, locker rooms and showers in college dorms, correctional facilities and penitentiaries. Another would restrict a transgender person’s ability to change their gender identity on their birth record.

Republican lawmakers across the United States have pursued several hundred measures aimed at rolling back LGBTQ rights this year.

At least 11 states have enacted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming care for minors, but federal judges have blocked them in two states. Around two dozen other states are considering bills to restrict or ban care.

President Joe Biden has denounced what he called hundreds of hateful and extreme state laws that target transgender kids and their families. “The bullying, discrimination, and political attacks that trans kids face have exacerbated our national mental health crisis,” Biden said. “These attacks are un-American and must end.”

___

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.

___

This story has been corrected to note that one bill would ban transgender women and girls — not transgender males — from participating on female sports teams.

National News

Associated Press

Millions sweating it out as heat wave nears peak from Midwest to Maine

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A heat wave extending from the Midwest to New England moved closer to a breaking point Thursday, with millions of people sweating it out for another day. The National Weather Service said the heat wave was expected to peak in the eastern Great Lakes and New England on Thursday, and in […]

20 minutes ago

Associated Press

580,000 glass coffee mugs recalled because they can break when filled with hot liquid

NEW YORK (AP) — Some 580,000 glass coffee mugs are being recalled across the U.S. after dozens of burn and laceration injuries were reported by consumers. According to a Thursday notice from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the now-recalled JoyJolt-branded “Declan Single Wall Glass Coffee Mugs” can crack or break when filled with hot […]

42 minutes ago

Associated Press

So long plastic air pillows: Amazon shifting to recycled paper filling for packages in North America

Amazon is shifting from the plastic air pillows used for packaging in North America to recycled paper because it’s more environmentally sound, and it says paper just works better. The company said Thursday that it’s already replaced 95% of the plastic air pillows with paper filler in North America and is working toward complete removal […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Several people shot at Oakland Juneteenth celebration, police say

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A Juneteenth celebration in Oakland, California, turned violent when several people were shot, police said. The Lake Merritt event on Wednesday night was largely peaceful, with as many as 5,000 in attendance, until a sideshow involving “motorbikes and vehicles” took place around 8:15 p.m. on the north side of the lake, […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Probe finds carelessness caused Jewish student group’s omission from New Jersey high school yearbook

An investigation into how and why a Jewish student group was erased from a New Jersey high school yearbook found the omission was caused by negligence and carelessness, but was not done on purpose or out of malice, the school district announced Wednesday. East Brunswick Public Schools hired a law firm to investigate after the […]

15 hours ago

Associated Press

Shooting in Philadelphia wounds 7 people, police say

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Seven people were wounded Wednesday evening in a shooting in Philadelphia, police said. The shooting happened just before 6:30 p.m. in North Philadelphia. The victims include a 19-year-old man who was shot in the leg, a 31-year-old woman shot in the hand, a 23-year-old man shot in the buttock, and two women […]

16 hours ago

North Dakota advances suite of restrictions on trans rights