North Dakota Legislature: Parental Rights, Adoption, Trans Rights all discussed

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

(Bismarck, ND) -- Several more bills that could effect thousands of North Dakotans are again being kicked around in Bismarck.

One bill would require school boards to create policies requiring written parental permission for K-12 students to receive instruction on certain topics.

Instruction on sexual orientation and romantic relationships are two of the topics that would have to be covered by school policies. The bill also includes a rule that would prevent schools and government entities from infringing on parental rights in a child's "upbringing, education, health care, and mental health." Backers say the proposal would cement parental rights into state law.

Meanwhile, a North Dakota House bill would make it easier for foster parents to adopt.

The bill would remove a second home study from the process, which foster parents say is repetitive. The measure would also give consideration to foster families to be approved as adoptive homes. Around eleven-hundred North Dakota kids live in foster homes.

Lawmakers are also considering a tax break for producers to set up a processing center to pull rare earth minerals from coal.

The bill would allow a company a tax break on the first million tons mined. Supporters say mineral development is needed to compete with China. If the bill passes the Senate in its current form, there is no sunset on the tax break.

And finally, Trans rights advocates are responding to legislation they say is hurtful to their community.

Advocates rallied at the North Dakota Capitol Tuesday to protest anti-trans legislation. Lawmakers are considering nearly a dozen bills that deal with issues such as the use of bathrooms, participation in sports, and drag show performances by members of the trans community. Advocates say the bills infringe on the rights of trans people.