Senate, House plan forum on protections for gays

Senate, House plan forum on protections for gays

Senate, House plan forum on protections for gays

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by Associated Press

KTVB.COM

Posted on March 18, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Updated Monday, Mar 18 at 12:38 PM

BOISE -- Adding protections for gays and lesbians to Idaho's Human Rights Act won't get a vote this year.

But it is due a hearing.

On Wednesday at 8 a.m., the joint House and Senate State Affairs committees are set to hear presentations spearheaded by Democratic Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb of Boise.

Sen. Curt McKenzie, a Nampa Republican and Senate State Affairs Committee chairman, said on Monday that Buckner-Webb requested proponents of adding workplace and housing discrimination protections for gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender individuals get a forum to keep discussion of the issue alive.

A year ago, a bill was killed in McKenzie's Senate panel, with GOP lawmakers refusing to introduce it for a public hearing.

McKenzie says he's convinced the vote hasn't changed since then, so he doesn't want to schedule a formal hearing.

Mistie Tolman is co-chair of Add the Words, Idaho, the nonprofit organization supporting the changes outlined by Buckner-Webb. Tolman says while her group is grateful to be heard by lawmakers, they're still not satisfied that Idahoans have the protections they need.

She says on Wednesday, her diverse group of supporters will try to sway lawmakers to introduce the bill next year.

"We have a group of people -- a wide variety from the business community, the religious community, and the LGBT community," Tolman said.

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