Thursday, July 07, 2016

Hopefully I Will Not Have To Keep My Legs Crossed…

…While I drive through Massachusetts and not have to go the bathroom. The Massachusetts state legislature is one step closer to passing a non-discrimination law to cover public accommodation.
Lawmakers reach deal on transgender bill
Boston Globe
By Joshua Miller
July 6, 2016

After a decade of emotional and divisive debate, Massachusetts House and Senate leaders came to final agreement on a transgender rights bill Wednesday and are likely to send it to Governor Charlie Baker by the end of the week.

The bill would allow people to use the restrooms, locker rooms, and changing rooms that match their gender identity, and would protect transgender people from discrimination in museums, malls, libraries, restaurants, and other public accommodations.

Baker has said he believes no one should be discriminated against based on their gender identity and backed an earlier iteration of the bill. But on Wednesday, a spokeswoman stopped short of saying if he would sign the compromise bill into law.
The governor is being very coy in whether he will sign the bill, at one time he said that he would sign the bill but now it seems like he might be backing off from signing it.
Communications director Lizzy Guyton said Baker “looks forward to carefully reviewing the final bill.”
Um… why doesn’t he read it now? The amended bill will be posted on the state legislature website when it is voted upon.

An article in the Recorder has a good history of the bill.
The panel worked to resolve several differences between versions of the bill that passed the Senate on a 33-4 vote and later the House by a 116-36 margin after debates that were at times emotional.
[…]
The compromise includes a provision requiring the state’s attorney general to develop guidelines for law enforcement on how to deal with people who make “improper” claims of gender identity. Such language had been included by the House, but not the Senate.

Critics, including the Massachusetts Family Institute, argued that male sexual predators could claim gender identity as a way to gain access to women’s bathrooms or locker rooms.

Baker, after being noncommittal for months, announced before the House vote that he would sign the bill if it reached his desk with the language pertaining to improper gender identity.

Another disagreement between the chambers was over the timing of the proposed law. The Senate wanted it to become effective immediately upon the governor’s signature, while the House bill had an effective date of Jan. 1.

Rep. John Fernandes, a Milford Democrat, said the compromise bill would require the attorney general and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination to draft guidelines for implementing the law by Sept. 1, with all provisions taking effect by Oct. 1.
The committee met the governor’s demand for him to sign the bill so hopefully the governor will not go back on his word.

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