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North Dakota joins states challenging health care protections for transgender Americans

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North Dakota joins states challenging health care protections for transgender Americans


A federal rule seeks to add protections to a section of the Affordable Care Act that prevent health care providers who discriminate on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation from receiving federal funding, including through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (photo illustration by Ross Williams/Georgia Recorder).

BY: ANNELISE HANSHAW

BISMARCK, N.D. (North Dakota Monitor) – North Dakota has joined a coalition of seven states challenging a rule by the Biden administration that would preempt state restrictions on gender-affirming care.

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The legal challenge, which is led by Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, was filed in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri on Wednesday. The states are seeking to block the regulation and prevent the federal government from enforcing similar mandates.

The rule seeks to add protections to a section of the Affordable Care Act that prevent health care providers who discriminate on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation from receiving federal funding, including through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The rule was set to go into effect July 5, with some provisions beginning later. But another coalition of attorneys general succeeded in their petition to block its implementation just two days prior. The judge in that case cited the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn “Chevron Deference,” a precedent that gave regulatory authority to federal agencies when statute is unclear.

Bailey, along with attorneys general from Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Idaho and Arkansas, argues that the rule conflicts with their states’ restrictions on gender-affirming care for minors. Each has varying restrictions on payments for gender-affirming treatment, with Missouri blocking payment for all treatments for medical transition through Medicaid and CHIP.

“… states will be unable to enforce these duly enacted laws and longstanding policies without coming into conflict with the rule,” the attorneys general wrote in the lawsuit.

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The American College of Pediatricians joins the attorneys general as a plaintiff. The ACPeds is a group of 400 physicians and other healthcare professionals in 47 states with a history of anti-LGBTQ advocacy.

“ACPeds members categorically do not provide medical interventions or referrals for, and do not facilitate or speak in ways that affirm the legitimacy of, the practice of ‘gender transition,’” the attorneys general wrote.

The lawsuit alleges that the organization’s pediatricians would suffer “significant financial harm to lose eligibility to participate in federal healthcare programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP.”

One pediatrician in Utah is quoted in the lawsuit saying he would not “self-censor his opinions on transition efforts if the rule goes into effect.”

Predicting his noncompliance with the rule, the Utah pediatrician “faces the prospect of no longer caring for his patients, being fired from his employment and being unable to practice medicine in most settings,” the attorneys general wrote.

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The rule violates physicians’ freedom of assembly, the lawsuit states, “by coercing them to participate in facilities, programs, groups and other healthcare-related endeavors that are contrary to their views and that express messages with which they disagree.”

The lawsuit also says it “coerces ACPeds members’ speech.”

“By forcing ACPeds members to tell patients directly, on their walls, and on their websites that they do not discriminate on the basis of gender identity, the rule forces ACPeds members to speak falsely, and it forces ACPeds members to fatally undermine their communication of their own medical ethical standards,” it says.

Beyond questions of constitutionality, the attorneys general allege that the rule goes beyond congressional authorization.

The rule interprets gender identity as protected by both including gender dysphoria as a disability and interpreting sex discrimination to include gender identity. The attorneys general disagree with this application.

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Key to the case will be the judge’s interpretation of the 2020 U.S. Supreme Court Case Bostock v. Clayton County, in which a majority of justices ruled that gender identity was protected under Title VII, which is on employment discrimination.

The rule leans on some courts’ interpretation that transfers the Bostock decision to Title IX and the Affordable Care Act, according to its publication in the Federal Register. But the attorneys general cite decisions from judges in red states that do not allow Bostock to apply outside of Title VII.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which is the defendant in the litigation, did not respond to a request for comment.



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North Dakota

North Dakota Superintendent Helping Schools Develop AI Guidelines

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North Dakota Superintendent Helping Schools Develop AI Guidelines


North Dakota School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler announced new state guidance on artificial intelligence (AI) designed to assist local schools in developing their own AI policies and to help teachers and administrators work more efficiently.

A group of educators from North Dakota schools, the NDDPI, the Department of Career and Technical Education, and state information technology agencies created this guidance, which is available on the Department of Public Instruction’s website.

Baesler emphasized that implementing AI, like any instructional tool, requires careful planning and alignment with educational priorities, goals, and values.

She stressed that humans should always control AI usage and review its output for errors, following a Human-Technology-Human process. “We must emphasize keeping the main thing the main thing, and that is to prepare our young learners for their next challenges and goals,” Baesler said.

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Steve Snow and Kelsie Seiler from the NDDPI Office of School Approval and Opportunity highlighted that the guidance was drawn from various state education agencies and technology websites, such as Code.org and TeachAI.org, with the process taking about eight months.

“We had a team that looked at guidance from other states, and we pulled pieces from different places and actually built guidance tailored for North Dakota students,” Snow said.

Seiler explained that AI excels at data analysis, predictive analytics, and automating repetitive tasks but lacks emotional intelligence, interdisciplinary research, and problem-solving abilities.

Snow added that AI can help teachers design lesson plans aligned with North Dakota’s academic content standards quickly and adjust them for students who need more support. AI can also simplify the development of personalized learning plans for students.

“You have so many resources (teachers) can use that are going to make your life so much easier,” Snow said. “I want the teachers, administration, and staff to get comfortable with using (AI), so they’re a little more comfortable when they talk to kids about it.”

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Seiler noted that the NDDPI guidance is not a “how-to” manual for using AI but offers general suggestions on developing local policies to leverage AI effectively.

“Our guidance is meant to provide some tools to the school administration and say, ‘Here are some things to think about when you implement your own AI guidance,’” Snow said.

“For instance, do you have the infrastructure to support (AI)? Do you have a professional development plan so your teachers can understand it? Do you have governance in place that says what AI can and can’t be used for?”

8 Everyday Foods That Are Legal in Montana, Forbidden Elsewhere

These foods are easy to find on store shelves wherever you buy your groceries in Montana. However in other states they’re banned from the shelves!

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

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Big List Of The Best French Fries In Montana

Gallery Credit: mwolfe

 





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The most deadly time to drive is between Memorial Day and Labor Day

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The most deadly time to drive is between Memorial Day and Labor Day


NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — The hundred-day span between Memorial Day and Labor Day is marked as the most deadly period on the road here in North Dakota.

According to the North Dakota Department of Transportation’s 2022 crash summary report, fatal crashes are twice as likely during this time.

That’s why North Dakota leaders are urging drivers to not fall into a “false sense of security” during the bright and cheery days of summer.

According to Travel and Leisure, North Dakota has been marked as the state with the most reckless drivers.

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There’s a range of reasons for this from drunk driving to speeding. But another reason is that when the snow clears, North Dakota drivers are eager to get out more and drive faster than they would in the snow, according to the North Dakota Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Division director.

And because North Dakota has some of the lowest citation fees in the nation, ranging from $5 to $100, the Highway Patrol’s safety and education officer says that drivers aren’t given enough deterrents to drive safely.

However, with growing concerns about safety, there could be talk of increasing citation amounts in coming legislative sessions.



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NDGF taking proactive measures to prevent aquatic nuisance species from spreading

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NDGF taking proactive measures to prevent aquatic nuisance species from spreading


BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) – Aquatic nuisance species are nonnative plants, animals and pathogens that can threaten our aquatic resources. The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is taking proactive measures to stop the spread of ANS into our waterbodies by conducting watercraft inspections at popular boat ramps statewide.

“We got watercraft inspectors that are working throughout this summer around the state of North Dakota to check boats, to educate boat owners to do the right things at ramps, make sure boats are all clean, drain, dry before recreating here,” said Ben Holen, NDGF Aquatic Nuisance Species Coordinator.

What can anglers or watercraft recreationists expect when they come to an ANS inspection?

“A watercraft inspector will ask a few questions, only takes a couple minutes, and then they look at the hull of the boat. They’re looking at the engine area, looking at the anchor and also looking at all drain compartments, making sure all water is out of that watercraft. Everything is drained. Everything is cleaned, drained, dry before you get on that water body,” said Holen.

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These watercraft inspections are voluntary and most people are cooperative and thankful the Game and Fish Department is spearheading efforts to stop the spread of ANS.

“We see a lot of our fishermen are really educated about aquatic nuisance species. They’re pulling their plugs every time, removing vegetation, doing the right things. Occasionally there are slip-ups, but that’s why our inspectors are out here making sure that those boats are good to go,” said Holen.

It’s not only fishing boats that are inspected, it’s all watercraft.

“So whether you’re a jet skier, a kayak, a canoer, a wakeboarder, you all play a part in curbing the spread of aquatic nuisance species in North Dakota,” said Holen.

The purpose of these inspections is to educate the public so they can help curb the spread of ANS.

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“We can’t be at every ramp, every single circumstance, so hopefully some of these recreationists can take the tools that they learn from watercraft inspectors and apply them on their own when they’re out there recreating on their own and do a self-inspection,” said Holen.

The Game and Fish Department is committed to safeguarding our natural resources for future generations to enjoy.

“So we really, really like to keep it that way and keep these resources pristine for a long time,” said Holen.

For more information on Aquatic Nuisance Species, visit gf.nd.gov

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