(Bismarck, ND) -- Several bills are moving through the state legislature and to the North Dakota Governor's desk for consideration as the legislative session nears its end.
Library Book Ban
The North Dakota Senate is moving forward with overriding Governor Doug Burgum's Veto of one of two bills designed to ban books. Burgum vetoed the bill yesterday that would also have enacted criminal penalties for displaying sexually explicit material in the children's section The bill also included restrictions that would have cost libraries millions to comply with. The bill is now headed to the house for a final vote.
North Dakota will now restrict restroom access for transgender people in certain public facilities. Governor Burgum signed a bill that requires jails, prisons, and public college dorms to designate exclusively separate bathrooms and showers for males and females. The measure also requires public facilities to make special restroom and shower accommodations for transgender individuals "as deemed appropriate by the administrator." Supporters of the bill say it provides a safe and private environment for women. Opponents say the bill denies rights to trangender people.
A bill that would restrict changes to the sex designation on North Dakota birth records is headed to Governor Burgum's desk. The bill would ban changes to the sex designation on birth records "due to a gender identity change." Exceptions would be made for data entry errors, or changes made to match medically-certified information. The Vital Records Division currently abides by the policy, but it would become law if the bill is signed.
College Tuition Freeze
House lawmakers are advancing a budget plan for North Dakota colleges. The bill includes a plan to freeze tuition for students this Fall, along with plans for a career builders partnership between the colleges and The Bank of North Dakota. The partnership includes skilled trade scholarships and student loan forgiveness. Opponents say the plan leaves open the chance for abuse by college presidents.
2024 Ballot Measure
A proposal that would change the amount of oil money that North Dakota sets aside will appear on the 2024 ballot. Voters will decide on whether to lower the amount of legacy fund money that lawmakers can spend every two years. A house resolution would lower the amount of the principal in the fund that can be spent from 15% to 5%. The legacy fund now has a current balance of $8.5 billion dollars.