Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Progressive Update--06/16/2009--Act TODAY

Equal Rights for All—State wide—House Bill 5 (HB5), which would make it illegal in Delaware to discriminate based on sexual orientation, for housing, employment, insurance, etc, has been effectively replaced with Senate Bill 121 (SB121, http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/LIS145.nsf/vwLegislation/SB+121?Opendocument). This should pass the Senate quickly, and the House even faster. This is the reason that opponents are scrambling. Go to http://www.delawarefamilies.org/index.cfm to see what they are doing. They have outright lies there. There is no provision of SB121 affecting what is taught in schools. SB121 is simple—it makes it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation in housing, employment, and insurance.

We have our own website, at http://dehb5.heroku.com/ , which helps you find your senator and reach out to them to ask them to support SB121, AND OPPOSE ANY AMENDMENTS. PLEASE, reach out to your senator TODAY and help get SB121 passed!

Senators considered ‘on the fence’ (by the opposition) include Catherin Cloutier, Bruce Ennis, Bethany Hall-Long, Bobby Marshall, and David McBride. They need to hear that they have constituents that oppose such discrimination and that support SB121.

Senators considered supportive of SB121 include Patty Blevins, George Bunting, Brian Bushweller, Dori Connor, Margaret Rose Henry, Michael Katz, Harris McDowell, Karen Peterson, David Sokola, and Liane Sorenson. They need to hear that they have constituent that appreciate their brave support of this bill.

If you are a member of a faith community in Delaware, go to www.towardequality.org, and see if your leader (pastor, rabbi, etc) has already signed the clergy statement of support. If not, ask them to do so.

There is a hearing of the Senate Insurance Committee tomorrow at 2pm in the Senate. Let Kim Siegel (aclu@aclu-de.org) know if you can make it and would like to speak.

Open Government—House Bill 1 (HB1) passed both houses, and Governor Markell signed it on Friday the 12th. Go to http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=BL&Dato=20090612&Kategori=PHOTOS01&Lopenr=906120802&Ref=PH for some pictures. Ensuring Open Government in Dover was rightly a VERY high priority, for without public scrutiny, we cannot see what Dover is doing for/to us.

Prison Reform—House Bill 168 (HB168, http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/LIS145.nsf/vwLegislation/HB+168?Opendocument) was introduced in the house on May 14th, and is sitting in the House Judiciary Committee. HB168 will repeal mandatory sentences for certain drug offenses, and restore flexibility to the courts. It will permit the judge to determine the best sentence, given the full circumstances. Please ask your state Senator and Representative to support HB168, repealing mandatory minimum sentences.

De Facto Parenting—Senate Bill 84 (SB84, http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis145.nsf/vwLegislation/SB+84?Opendocument) passed the Senate in May, and awaits a vote in the House. This bill reinforces ‘de facto parenting’, for those who care for children as would a biological parent. This could be a step-parent, grand-parent, adoptive parent, etc. Most importantly, it permits the Family Court to make the decision of who best can assume parental responsibilities for a child. Please ask your state Representative to support SB84, reinforcing de facto parents.

Equal Rights for All—Newark—This is taking a rather long path. My favorite statement by a city council person at a meeting last week (in early June) was that they wanted a meeting in August ‘to keep the momentum going.’ “We shall overcome because the arc of a moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” The arc of a moral universe in Newark is also quite long. Stay tuned.

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