By TRISHA AHMED (Associated Press/Report for America)
Transgender kids and adults in North Dakota won’t be able to access bathrooms, locker rooms or shower rooms that match the gender they identify with, under a new law covering some state-run facilities signed by Republican Gov. Doug Burgum.
Dorms and other housing controlled by the state board of higher education would be affected, as well as penitentiaries and correctional facilities for youths and adults. Restrooms and shower rooms will be designated for use exclusively by males or exclusively by females. Transgender or gender-nonconforming people would need to get approval from a staff member to use the restroom or shower room of their choice.
Burgum’s office announced Wednesday that he signed the bill the previous day. It had passed the state House and Senate with veto-proof majorities.
The American Civil Liberties Union has said that so far this year, more than 450 bills attacking the rights of transgender people have been introduced in state legislatures.
The governor’s office declined to comment on the bill Wednesday.
Rep. Eric Murphy was one of three Republicans who defied their party and voted against the bill when it was in the House.
“I don’t try to be polarizing. I just don’t think there was a need for the legislation,” Murphy said in an interview with The Associated Press after the governor’s decision. The lawmaker from Grand Forks is a professor at the University of North Dakota.
Last week, the governor signed a bill that restricts transgender health care in the state, immediately making it a crime to give gender-affirming care to people younger than 18.
That measure also received veto-proof support from GOP lawmakers — although some Republicans did vote against it, alongside all Democrats.
Earlier this month, Burgum also signed a transgender athlete ban into law after it similarly passed the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities. In 2021, Burgum vetoed a bill that would have imposed a transgender athlete ban at that time, but House and Senate lawmakers did not have enough votes back then to override his veto.
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. Follow Trisha Ahmed on Twitter: @TrishaAhmed15
This story has been updated to correct that the bill was signed Tuesday and announced Wednesday.
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