Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Legislative Update Jan. 18th

Week two in legislature will be very busy with important bills coming into committee and on the floor every day. Please check daily for bills and take the time to call your representative and voice your opinion.

House Bill HB00074 – Validity of Marriage passed in the Education committee with a vote of 7 to 2 last night. The bill defines marriage as between a man and women, does not recognize those same-sex couples’s marriages from other states and does not recognize marriage between multiple spouses. We strongly oppose this bill and hope that you will contact your representative today and let them know that you oppose these bills that deny members of our community the rights and privileges that we should all enjoy. Representative Connolly and Representative John Freemen cast the two no votes against this bill – please let them know you appreciate their courage and convictions.
Aye votes – Reps. Bob Brechtel, Donald Burkhart, Kendell Kroeker, Same Krone, Cary “Bunky” Loucks, Michael Madden Chairman Matt Teeters.

The Corporations Committee considered SF0003 – Campaign Finance- Organization and passed it out of committee with an amendment that added more transparency into the bill. The ACLU has supported the campaign finance decision that allowed for contributions from organizations and corporations.

The Committee also passed SF0014 – Counties – election districts. This bill would allow a county to set up voting districts that would allow election of commissioners by district, at-large or a combination of the two. District voting is generally favored as it provides for accountability and for protection of voters. Hybrid and at-large systems are generally in disfavor as they lend themselves to voter discrimination and violations of the voting rights act. We are disappointed at the passage of this out of committee and feel that it is an invitation for mischief by county commissions. Like much of the legislation this session there is no good purpose for this bill.

At 7:00 AM Wednesday the Senate Judiciary Committee will discuss SJ0005 - Defense of Marriage – constitutional amendment in the Herschler Building room b63. This is an attempt to put the discrimination of gays and lesbians into a constitutional amendment for the people to vote on. This issue is currently on its way up to the Supreme Court and it is a waste of time and money for the people of Wyoming to be voting on it. The courts have clearly said you cannot vote away a fundamental right and marriage is a fundamental right under our constitution. From Perry v. Schwarzenegger (this case and numerous articles at ACLU.ORG) “ The evidence did not show any historical purpose for excluding same sex couples from marriage, as states have never required spouses to have an ability or willingness to procreate in order to marry. Rather, the exclusion exist as an artifact of a time when genders where seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage. That time has passed. “

Friday at the noon adjournment the Labor Committee will hear HB0118 – Abortion – available information for decision (see previous blog post on this bill) This bill is an intrusion into the private lives and decision making of women and their medical providers.

We are testifying on other legislation and issues and will try to keep you up to date on as many happenings as we can.