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Add the Words bill introduced

Posted at 1:53 PM, Jan 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-19 19:22:20-05

Two leading Democrat lawmakers have put forward a "simple bill" to add the words "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" to the state's Human Rights Act.

Sen. Buckner-Webb and Burgoyne, both Boise Democrats, presented the personal bill on the Senate floor Tuesday. Their proposal is fairly straight-forward. Where appropriate, it adds the phrase "sexual orientation, gender identity" in the code.

"It's a simple billin the sense that it just adds the four words," said Burgoyne, who serves as Minority Caucus Leader. "That's what we in the stakeholders think is important. It doesn't necessarily mean we're not going to go forward with a bipartisan group that we've been talking with."

During the interim, a group a bi-partisan Senators have held closed-door meetings to work out legislation on equal rights that includes the LGBT community. Though no specific language has been revealed, Sen. Buckner-Webb says there are at least two more iterations that will include specific language for religious liberty.

"We can continue to talk about other approaches and there's nothing about filing this bill that precludes that," said the Assistant Minority Leader.

According to the pair of senators, there was communication with the bi-partisan group before this bill was filed.

"This is not anathema to what goes on in the Legislature all the time," said Buckner-Webb. "I think it was an absolutely appropriate action that we took."

The bill is now in the hands of Senate Pro-tem Brent Hill, and Senate President Brad Little. They could send the bill for a committee hearing or leave it in the desk. Burgoyne says their strategy is to have the bill out there for the public to discuss and to have as an alternative to any other bill presented in the future.