(Daily Caller News Foundation) — Republican North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum signed into law on Tuesday two bills that will ban male athletes from competing in female sports, The Associated Press reported.
The two laws will prevent male athletes from competing on teams designated for women and girls at the K-12 and collegiate levels, according to the AP. Both bills were pushed through the state House and Senate chambers with large majorities, making it likely that the bills would have become law even without the governor’s signature.
Burgum vetoed a similar bill in 2021 that would have banned boys from competing on girls’ teams in public schools, but the Legislature did not have enough votes to override, according to the AP. He questioned the relevance of the latest pair of bills, saying that “there still has not been a single recorded incident of a transgender girl playing or entering the process to even ask to play on a North Dakota girls’ team.”
“Concerns raised last session about such policies jeopardizing the ability to host regional and national collegiate tournaments have not materialized in the roughly 20 states that have passed similar legislation,” Burgum said, according to the AP.
The bills are necessary to mitigate concern that allowing athletes to compete as the opposite sex could take away scholarship opportunities from women and girls, Republican state Sen. Janne Myrdal said, according to the AP. Democratic state Sen. Ryan Braunberger spoke against the bill on the Senate floor.
“It is disappointing that the governor ignores science and facts surrounding transgender individuals in sports,” Braunberger told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “These bills are an overreaction to a non-existent issue in North Dakota.”
Republican lawmakers in Kansas recently voted to override Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of its “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” which will take effect on July 1 and bar male athletes from competing in women’s sports.
“These bills will not affect women’s sports,” Braunberger told the DCNF. “Bills like these are setting a course of discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community and sending a signal that North Dakota is closed to individuals that are not cisgender.”
Burgum and Myrdal did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.