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Statewide anti-bias bill gets first committee hearing

[[UPDATE: Story has been updated to show new hearing room: 30 House Building]]

A statewide nondiscrimination bill will see its first committee hearing on Thursday, March 7, 4 p.m., Room 30 in the Utah House Building of the Utah State Capitol Complex. If passed, the bill would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Utah. There are 16 municipalities with similar ordinances.

The bill will face strong opposition from conservative groups, such as the Utah Eagle Forum, said its president, Gayle Ruzicka, in a public caucus meeting sponsored by Sen. Jim Dabakis. While she said she does not believe people should discriminate they should maintain the right to do so.

“Does it work to pass a law to tell people they can’t discriminate? If you really want to fire someone, you’ll find a way to do it,” Ruzicka said. “We have the anti-discrimination ordinances in many communities but there’s a difference between a community ordinance and a statewide law. You talk about this being equality for all people. But there are already exceptions, so where do you draw the line? What about religious people? We need exceptions too.”

Despite the opposition, Equality Utah representatives are still hopeful about passing the bill. Sen. Steven Urquhart, R-Washington County, is sponsoring Senate Bill 262 and the first committee hearing is in the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee.

“I cannot be more clear. I want this bill to pass. So we’re going to do everything we can to accomplish that,” Equality Utah Executive Director Brandie Balken said.

This is the fourth year the bill protecting against bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity has been proposed. While similar bills have been unable to receive the necessary votes to move out of committee and receive a vote by the entire body of the Senate or House, this year is different, Balken said. For the past six months, Equality Utah has worked with various politicians and lobbyists, including Republican lobbyist and former Speaker of the House Greg Curtis, to ensure the bill has enough votes to pass.

“This is going to be a squeaker. We’re going to need all the votes we can get,” she said.

You should go

WHAT: Anti-bias bill committee hearing [AGENDA] WHEN: Thursday, March 7, 4 p.m.
WHERE: Utah House Building, Room 30 [MAP] INFO: le.utah.gov

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7 Comments

  1. IMPORTANT! by 4pm MST Thursday, March 7: Action needed for statewide LGBT nondiscrimination in Utah.

    If you have only sixty seconds today, please compose a new email, copy these addresses:

    [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]..into the To: field, and in the body ask them nicely to please please please support the nondiscrimination bill, SB0262. Then click Send.

    If you have more than sixty seconds:

    References and resources:
    Nondiscrimination in Utah -http://www.equalityutah.org/nondiscrimination.
    The bill itself – http://le.utah.gov/~2013/bills/static/SB0262.html.
    Free calling via Gmail: http://www.google.com/chat/voice/.
    Send a free fax: http://faxzero.com/.

    SB0262 must make it out of committee today and onto the Senate floor, or it expires this session. This bill is modeled on the one the LDS Church publicly supported in Salt Lake City in 2009. Statewide nondiscrimination died in committee last time and never made it to the Senate floor. Our goal today before they meet at 4pm is to get the eight members of the committee to agree to move the bill forward to the Senate floor (and, hopefully, support it while they're at it). Please be very friendly and polite to the committee members when you contact them. You may call, write, and even fax elected representatives to respectfully request that they support nondiscrimination. If you are LDS let them know so they do know there are active LDS in favor. Our elected officials always have budgetary concerns, so please remind them that the economic benefits alone will be tremendous, not to mention the joyous goodwill and positive attention our state will receive in the national media.

    Sen. Aaron Osmond has asked for examples of people being discriminated against for orientation or gender identity, so if you know of such examples, please share with the committee members! Remember also that fear of being discriminated against prevents skilled, talented LGBT people from moving to Utah and making major economic contributions to the state.

    The eight committee members and their Senate page contact info:

    1. Sen. Aaron Osmond (R), Committee Chair –
    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: Cell: 801-888-8742.
    Fax: 801-665-1454
    http://www.utahsenate.org/aspx/senmember.aspx?dist=10

    2. Sen. Ralph Okerlund (R) –
    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: Work 435-527-3370.
    Cell 435-979-7077
    Fax 435-527-3370
    http://www.utahsenate.org/aspx/senmember.aspx?dist=24

    3. Sen. Peter Knudson (R) –
    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: Work 435-723-6366.
    Cell 435-730-4569
    Fax 435-723-6371
    http://www.utahsenate.org/aspx/senmember.aspx?dist=17

    4. Sen. Stuart Reid (R) –
    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: Work 801-337-4182.
    http://www.utahsenate.org/aspx/senmember.aspx?dist=18

    5. Sen. Jerry Stevenson (R) –
    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: Work 801-544-1211.
    Cell 801-678-3147
    Fax 801-546-6819
    http://www.utahsenate.org/aspx/senmember.aspx?dist=21

    6. Sen. Karen Mayne (D) –
    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: Home 801-968-7756.
    http://www.utahsenate.org/aspx/senmember.aspx?dist=5

    7. Sen. Patricia Jones (D) –
    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: Work 801-322-5722.
    http://www.utahsenate.org/aspx/senmember.aspx?dist=4

    8. Policy Analyst Ben Christensen [email protected].

    If you are able to attend the committee hearing: at 2:45 pm MST, Equality Utah staff will brief you in the cafeteria in the Senate Building, then moving on to attending the public hearing in 30 House Building that begins at 4pm. Map: http://le.utah.gov/maps/map.asp?room=W030&frame=true

  2. IMPORTANT! by 4pm MST Thursday, March 7: Action needed for statewide LGBT nondiscrimination in Utah.

    If you have only sixty seconds today, please compose a new email, copy these addresses:

    [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]..into the To: field, and in the body ask them nicely to please please please support the nondiscrimination bill, SB0262. Then click Send.

    If you have more than sixty seconds:

    References and resources:
    Nondiscrimination in Utah -http://www.equalityutah.org/nondiscrimination.
    The bill itself – http://le.utah.gov/~2013/bills/static/SB0262.html.
    Free calling via Gmail: http://www.google.com/chat/voice/.
    Send a free fax: http://faxzero.com/.

    SB0262 must make it out of committee today and onto the Senate floor, or it expires this session. This bill is modeled on the one the LDS Church publicly supported in Salt Lake City in 2009. Statewide nondiscrimination died in committee last time and never made it to the Senate floor. Our goal today before they meet at 4pm is to get the eight members of the committee to agree to move the bill forward to the Senate floor (and, hopefully, support it while they're at it). Please be very friendly and polite to the committee members when you contact them. You may call, write, and even fax elected representatives to respectfully request that they support nondiscrimination. If you are LDS let them know so they do know there are active LDS in favor. Our elected officials always have budgetary concerns, so please remind them that the economic benefits alone will be tremendous, not to mention the joyous goodwill and positive attention our state will receive in the national media.

    Sen. Aaron Osmond has asked for examples of people being discriminated against for orientation or gender identity, so if you know of such examples, please share with the committee members! Remember also that fear of being discriminated against prevents skilled, talented LGBT people from moving to Utah and making major economic contributions to the state.

    The eight committee members and their Senate page contact info:

    1. Sen. Aaron Osmond (R), Committee Chair –
    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: Cell: 801-888-8742.
    Fax: 801-665-1454
    http://www.utahsenate.org/aspx/senmember.aspx?dist=10

    2. Sen. Ralph Okerlund (R) –
    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: Work 435-527-3370.
    Cell 435-979-7077
    Fax 435-527-3370
    http://www.utahsenate.org/aspx/senmember.aspx?dist=24

    3. Sen. Peter Knudson (R) –
    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: Work 435-723-6366.
    Cell 435-730-4569
    Fax 435-723-6371
    http://www.utahsenate.org/aspx/senmember.aspx?dist=17

    4. Sen. Stuart Reid (R) –
    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: Work 801-337-4182.
    http://www.utahsenate.org/aspx/senmember.aspx?dist=18

    5. Sen. Jerry Stevenson (R) –
    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: Work 801-544-1211.
    Cell 801-678-3147
    Fax 801-546-6819
    http://www.utahsenate.org/aspx/senmember.aspx?dist=21

    6. Sen. Karen Mayne (D) –
    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: Home 801-968-7756.
    http://www.utahsenate.org/aspx/senmember.aspx?dist=5

    7. Sen. Patricia Jones (D) –
    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: Work 801-322-5722.
    http://www.utahsenate.org/aspx/senmember.aspx?dist=4

    8. Policy Analyst Ben Christensen [email protected].

    If you are able to attend the committee hearing: at 2:45 pm MST, Equality Utah staff will brief you in the cafeteria in the Senate Building, then moving on to attending the public hearing in 30 House Building that begins at 4pm. Map: http://le.utah.gov/maps/map.asp?room=W030&frame=true

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