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North Dakota transgender sports bill bound for conference committee
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North Dakota transgender sports bill bound for conference committee

Transgender sports bills

More than 30 mostly teenagers gather on the steps of the state Capitol in Bismarck on Feb. 19 to rally against House Bill 1298 restricting transgender high school athletes.

State lawmakers are preparing for a conference committee to reconcile differences over a bill about transgender high school athletes' participation in sports.

North Dakota's House of Representatives in a voice vote Monday agreed to send a batch of bills to conference committees, including House Bill 1298, brought by Rep. Ben Koppelman, R-West Fargo.

The bill the House passed earlier 65-26 would have prohibited a publicly funded school or entity from allowing a person under 18 to participate on a high school girls or boys team exclusively for the opposite sex, or from sponsoring events that allowed it.

The Senate last month amended the bill into an optional study of issues related to a policy restricting transgender high school athletes. It passed 32-15.

Now a conference committee of three representatives and three senators will hash out differences between the chambers. Speaker Kim Koppelman, R-West Fargo, named three representatives to the conference committee on Monday.

Reps. Kathy Skroch, R-Lidgerwood; Karen Rohr, R-Mandan; and Mary Schneider, D-Fargo; make up the House membership on the conference committee. Skroch and Rohr voted for the bill; Schneider opposed it.

Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, who presides over the Senate, will name senator members.

Supporters say the bill is about ensuring fairness in girls sports. Opponents say the bill discriminates against transgender youth. 

Reach Jack Dura at 701-223-8482 or jack.dura@bismarcktribune.com.

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