More gay bills than just ‘initiative’?

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I agree with Equality Utah Inc. Director Mike Thompson that informing citizens about legislation which would affect them is important to maintaining the momentum gained from his group’s “Common Ground Initiative” [“Equality Utah: Common Ground Will Go On,” QSaltLake, March 5], but I wonder if the initiative’s focus on just five or six bills limited its momentum from the start.

Thompson declared the initiative was finished after just 24 days into the Utah Legislature’s 45-day session. But, at least six other bills important to gay and transgender citizens were never included in the initiative — or even mentioned to us.

Two bills would have helped a terminally ill person with AIDS who chooses to settle his life-insurance policy for needed financial stability. Luckily, one of the bills was adopted.

Another bill would have harmed a gay or transgender student in college housing by allowing his eviction in just three days instead of the usual 30 days or more. Luckily, this bill wasn’t adopted.

But, luck wasn’t enough with other bills which would have helped the partner of a person with a sexually transmitted disease to get an ‘expedited partner therapy’ drug prescription, helped a public school to provide age-appropriate and accurate education about contraceptives and ways to reduce STDs, and helped a state Driver License Division worker to accommodate a transgender citizen accurately and fairly when he requests a change of sex designation. They weren’t adopted.

Thompson said that “[p]eople talk about what they’re told about, so let’s tell them.” He’s right. More people might talk about bills like these if they are told about them. There are more bills in the legislature than are dreamt of in one initiative.

David Nelson
Salt Lake City

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