North Dakota Legislature: Burgum signs trans sports, cigar bills; approval voting veto overrode by house

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

(Bismarck, ND) -- A few decisions from the Governor, as well as an official override of a veto that directly effects the future of voting of Fargo have come down as the legislative session marches on in Bismarck.

Governor Doug Burgum is signing into law two bills banning transgender women from competing in women's sports at both the K-through-12 and college levels.

He said in a statement Tuesday that House Bill 1249 "preserves athletics for girls and boys under traditional Title IX protections." Burgum said that there have been no cases of a transgender woman trying to compete in sports in the last two years. The ban continues a trend across Republican-led states, where 20 have put into place similar restrictions on transgender women competing in sports.

In the meantime, the State Senate is now on the clock to consider overriding Governor Burgum's veto of a bill dealing with voting procedures.

The State House overrode Burgum's veto issued last week on a ban of approval and ranked choice voting on Monday. The new law, if passed by the state senate, would take effect August 1st. In a discussion with WDAY Midday on Tuesday, Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney went to bat for the voting system, saying the results have been positive since approval voting was put in place back in 2018 and that the city will weigh their options on the future of elections after the session officially ends.

The senate also is advancing a private school voucher bill.

The bill would offset the cost of tuition for some families sending their children to private schools. It would set aside ten-million dollars from the state's general fund for an education reimbursement program. The bill includes multiple amendments, including a requirement that money allocated through the program go only toward tuition, along with a means test for families applying to the program.

And Governor Burgum says Cigar lounges will soon be allowed in North Dakota.

He signed a bill Tuesday okaying cigar bars, as long as they generate at least 15-percent of their income from selling cigars. Buildings must also be fully enclosed with ventilation systems. The new law also goes into effect August 1st.