North Dakota Legislature: Bills on parental rights, transgender policies, co2 pipeline take center stage

Photo by: North Dakota Legislative Branch
Photo by: North Dakota Legislative Branch

(Bismarck, ND) -- Several hot-button issues continue to filter through Bismarck as the 68th legislative session moves into another week.

The North Dakota Senate is advancing a bill that would restrict how public schools, agencies, and government entities treat transgender people.

The proposal would bar districts from creating policies to accommodate transgender students without specific parental permission. It also prohibits them from providing instruction saying that gender identity can differ from sex at birth. The same proposal states that public agencies and government entities can't require employees to use a transgender colleague's preferred pronoun in work-related communications.

In the meantime, a North Dakota Senate bill is proposing that parents be given more control over how their children are treated in educational and medical settings.

The bill proposes that schools and government entities can't infringe on "the fundamental right of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health" of a child. The bill requires parental permission to call a transgender child by anything other than their legal name or gender pronoun. Parental permission would also be required for students to attend presentations related to gender, sexual orientation, or romantic or sexual relationships. The bill also provides parents the right to excuse children from school for religious reasons, and to opt out of data collection.

In medical settings, professionals would be required to get parental consent before providing treatment or medication to children, except in emergencies.

And finally the North Dakota Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee is recommending the passage of seven bills addressing landowners' concerns surrounding a carbon capture project.

Some of the issues the bills focus on include requiring at least a thousand feet between new pipelines and houses, and that land surveyors get written consent from landowners. The bills all relate to the Summit Carbon Solutions carbon capture CO2 pipeline project.