North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) vetoed a transgender sports ban on Wednesday, saying that the state already has sufficient rules for sports leagues regarding transgender people.
"North Dakota has fairness in girls' and boys' sports in large part because of the caring and thoughtful leadership of the North Dakota High School Activities Association (NDHSAA) Board and its members," Burgum said. "We have every confidence they will continue to ensure a level playing field for the more than 27,000 students who participate in North Dakota high school sports."
The state says a transgender student who is not taking hormone treatment may not participate in sports with the gender they identify as, The Bismarck Tribune reported.
Transgender males have to undergo testosterone treatment in order to compete in male sports leagues, and transgender females have to undergo testosterone suppressing treatment for one year before participating in female sports leagues.
"To date there has not been a single recorded incident of a transgender girl attempting to play on a North Dakota girls' team. Further, the NDHSAA already has regulations in place for participation in sex-separated interscholastic contests by transgender students," Burgum said.
The bill could be overridden by the state House and Senate, with the House getting enough votes the first time around to override the governor’s decision.
However, the Senate did not get enough votes to override the first time and said it would attempt to override the governor’s decision only if the House did.
The bill said that girls could play on boys teams but banned public elementary and secondary schools from exclusively letting someone play on a school-sponsored team of the opposite sex.
The vetoed bill comes as many states have decided to either ban or allow transgender athletes to play in the sports league that aligns with their gender.