Committee Chair: No Vote for Idaho’s “Add the Words” Bill

add mckenzie

The Chairman of the Senate State Affairs Committee appears to be ready to once again ignore the plight of Idaho’s LGBT community. For the seventh year in a row committee members are on the verge of going home without giving a bill that would add the words “sexual orientation or gender identity” to Idaho’s human rights amendment.

The bill would make it illegal in Idaho to discriminate against someone solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in cases of employment, housing or in other public amenities.

Senate State Affairs Committee Chairman Curt McKenzie tells the Idaho Statesman that, while some lawmakers felt “bad” for their votes last year,”no bill will be considered for introduction.”

The issue reached a near-tipping point with citizens last year, following the participation of thousands of supporters through out the state, but ultimately the bill  failed to gain enough votes in the committee to move forward.

Last month, state lawmakers were invited to attend a panel discussion to learn more about the bill. However, no Republicans and very few Democrats turned out for the lunch time presentation.

All may not be lost, however. For the first time ever, members of the Senate and House State Affairs committees are scheduled to hear an “informal presentation” regarding the measure.

McKenzie tells the Statesman,”out of respect for (Sen. Cherie) Buckner-Webb (the bill’s sponsor) he agreed to a 45 minute to one-hour presentation. Formal public testimony won’t be taken and opponents won’t be asked to speak. Buckner-Webb is organizing the event.”

Add the Words, Idaho organizers are encouraging community members to attend Wednesday morning’s meeting in order to silently show their support for the bill.  The”informal  presentation” is scheduled for this Wednesday morning at 8:00 am in the Lincoln Auditorium on the Capitol’s garden level.

You can also contact  committee members and let them know that you support the measure:

Sen. McKenzie: CMckenzie@senate.idaho.gov (208) 367-9400

Sen. Lodge: PALodge@senate.idaho.gov

Sen. Winder: CWinder@senate.idaho.gov (208) 343-2300

Sen. Fulcher: Rfulcher@senate.idaho.gov (208) 332-1340

Sen Davis: BMDavis@senate.idaho.gov (208) 522-8100

Sen. Hill: BHill@senate.idaho.gov (208) 356-3677

Sen. Siddoway (Contact him by Clicking HERE.)

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