Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Kansas First! Senate committee approves bill banning LGBT discrimination

As far as I know this is the first time any Kansas legislative committee has ever taken such a pro-queer vote. The Harris News Service reports that a Kansas Senate committee just endorsed a bill banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment and public accommodations.

The vote by the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee was 5-3. Harris News writes:
Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee Chairman Pete Brungardt, R-Salina, voted with the majority in favor of the bill. He said that in this day and age, there’s no reason that people should be discrimination against because of their personal characteristics. "It just affirms the obvious," Brungardt said of the bill.
Kudos to the Kansas Equality Coalition! Well done Tom Witt, lobbyist and former chair; Maggie Childs, current chair; and all the other hard-working members of KEC.

This makes the bill, SB 169, eligible for a vote on the floor of the Senate. If passed by the full Senate, it would have to go through the same process in the Kansas House. Despite the victory, the future of the bill remains uncertain.

Having said that, I'm still thrilled. This is a significant victory. Kansans who believe in fairness should savor this win. Hoorah!


Thomas Witt said...

Unfortunately, SB169 was re-referred by Senate leadership right back to the committee. Understand, though, that by the time we got our committee vote, there really wasn't enough time left in the session to do anything with the bill.

On the other hand, we've had our hearing, we've had one committee vote (5 to 3), and we haven't lost any support among the five. The Senate President could have done worse that re-refer back to the Fed & State Affairs committee - he could very well have sent it to a committee with a majority hostile to our interests.

Now the LGBT community in Kansas has a unique opportunity: We have eight months in which to work on legislators around the state to try to build enough support to get this important law passed.

I say we get busy.

Diane Silver said...

Thanks for keeping us up to date, Tom. and I agree that this is a unique opportunity. My contacts tell me that we are within a tiny handful of votes of getting SB 169 passed through the Senate. The Legislature is still in session, but when lawmakers go home in April that will be the time to contact them. Go to legislative coffees, call them on the phone, write letters.

Anonymous said...

I guess you're not going to publish my comment(s)?
Okay, I'll just lurk.

Diane Silver said...


I admit to being baffled. I don't moderate comments on this blog, and the only "comments" I delete are comment spam and one fellow who posted about 2,000 words on a variety of topics in a single comment. On, and I did once delete a comment that attacked, by name, a child. So, Tracy, go ahead and comment.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Diane. I understand, and I'm not easily offended.
I was afraid you were offended because I not only commented, I also left a link to a progressive blog that I contribute to as sekanblogger. It's a wordpress blog, I comment on eblogger ocassionaly, but haven't signed up.
About the link, if I may?

We've only been online for a couple of weeks but seem to be doing well.

In the post that went missing, I was saying that I've 'lurked' your site for years, but did not comment because it was usually at work. You never know what the IT guys rules are until it's to late.
In any case, I wanted you to know that I've read here for years and admire your writing.
I'd be honored if you skimmed over our humble little blog.
Tracy, er, ummm... sekanblogger