North Dakota Senate sustains transgender sports bill veto

BISMARCK (AP) — North Dakota’s Republican-led Senate on Thursday sustained Gov. Doug Burgum’s veto of a bill restricting transgender girls from participating in public elementary and secondary school sports.

Senators voted 28-19 to override the first-term Republican governor, but fell short of the 32 necessary for a two-thirds majority. The vote came after the GOP-led House voted 68-25 to override Burgum earlier Thursday.

The bill last week got a strong 69-25 vote in the House but a narrower 27-20 vote in the Senate.

Burgum argued that the legislation endorsed by the GOP-led Legislature attempts to address a problem that does not exist.

“To date, there has not been a single recorded incident of a transgender girl attempting to play on a North Dakota girls’ team,” Burgum wrote in his veto message Wednesday.

Burgum said the state “has a level playing field and fairness in girls’ sports.” The bill, he said, purports that fairness in school sports is in immediate danger.

“There is no evidence to suggest this is true,” Burgum wrote.

The American Civil Liberties Union called the legislation unconstitutional and warned it would open the state up to costly litigation.