Friday, May 09, 2014

CT Non-Discrimination Bill Dies In The Senate

There was a bill in the state legislature this year to modify the gender inclusive non-discrimination law of 2011 (PA11-55). The bill was H.B. 5367 An Act Concerning the Implementation of Enhanced Protections Against Discrimination and the bill was going to add,
d) Any person who places a noose or a simulation thereof on any public property, or on any private property without the written consent of the owner, and with intent to intimidate or harass any other person on account of religion, national origin, alienage, color, race, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, blindness, [or] physical disability or mental disability, shall be in violation of subsection (a) of this section.
It was a minor addition to the law but an important one, the bill would make it a felony to intimidate us with a noose. The analysis for the bill said,
The bill also makes it a discriminatory practice to place a noose or simulation of one (1) on public property or on private property without the owner's written consent and (2) with the intent to intimidate or harass someone based on gender identity or expression or mental disability. By law, “gender identity or expression” means a person's gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior, whether or not that identity, appearance, or behavior differs from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or assigned sex at birth.

Committing a discriminatory practice is a class A misdemeanor, but it is a class D felony if property damage over $1,000 results. A class A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000, imprisonment for up to one year, or both. A class D felony is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment for up to five years, or both.
The bill passed unanimously in the Judicial Committee with a vote 40-0 and passed in the House with a vote of 136-6 and 4 absent but it never made it to a vote in the Senate before the session ended. It would have been nice to see it passed but giving the fact that this year session was a short session, it was interesting that the bill made it through the House. Notice that the bill had strong bipartisan support in the Judicial Committee and the House something that the original in 2011 didn’t, that bill was split right down party lines.

The bill also was going to add “mental disability” to the section.

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