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Equal Rights protest takes the Capitol same day social bills debated

Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 7:29 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) -The State Capitol was the backdrop for another protest over social issues and lawmakers attempts to make laws out of them.

So far this session, lawmakers passed a bill to rescind North Dakota’s decades-old ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and other bills.

As the clock starts to wind down on the 2021 legislative session, lawmakers have only a few more weeks to work out the major differences in bills to send to the governor.

There are few bills with bigger differences than the high school transgender sports bill.

In front of the Capitol was another chapter in protests against the high school transgender sports bill, which bans athletes from playing for the teams that don’t match their original birth certificate.

“I know what it’s like feel so trapped in yourself that. It’s so scary to see things in the legislature like this bill and people around saying that what you’re doing and how you’re hurting yourself is so bad,” said Magic City Campus student Asher Hoffarth.

In the short time they have left, lawmakers must negotiate whether they’ll go with House’s version of an actual law barring transgender students from playing for another gender’s team, or the Senate’s version of merely studying the impacts a bill like this would have.

If enacted as a law, some worry it would result in losing traveling sports tournaments or even millions of dollars in court battles.

But some aren’t persuaded.

“We always get threatened by lawsuits no matter what we do. Any law that we pass in this legislative body, every one of the 800-900 of them can be sued. That should not hinder us from doing the right thing,” Sen. Janne Myrdal, R-Edinburg, said.

Among the more appealing arguments to lawmakers was the economic impact it would have on the state.

After the debate, the committee was unable to decide whether to go with a law or a study, and they’ll be holding that decision until next week. It will be followed shorty with votes in both chambers.

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