Push for Public Discussion on Nondiscrimination Bill Fails

(KCPW News) In a final push to get a public hearing for his anti-discrimination bill this year, Democratic Senator Ben McAdams made a plea to his colleagues this morning to move SB 148 out of the Senate Rules Committee, where it’s been tied up for weeks. But his effort was unsuccessful.

“I am disappointed that they weren’t willing to send this bill to committee, because I think the dialogue is important and I think that we need to have this discussion,” he told KCPW. “There ‘s a desire to see data and to understand better what this is and I think the committee is the proper forum to have those discussions.”

McAdams’ bill aims to protect Utahns from housing and employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, something 11 Utah cities and counties have already done on the local level.

But Republican Senator Chris Buttars says the Senate shouldn’t be fixing problems that he believes aren’t really there.

“I don’t know why we try to press these things out, like this, when there isn’t a demand for it. I’ve asked a lot of people in a lot of cities and they look at me and say ‘huh?’ I believe that the process has worked, and I believe we should turn down this request,” he said.

McAdams’ request for a committee hearing was denied on a 21-to-7 vote, but he intends to bring the bill back next year. This is the fourth year in a row lawmakers have considered a statewide anti-discrimination bill for the LGBT community.