Bathroom Bills in Pennsylvania concern attempts by the state legislature to make “sexual orientation, gender identity or expression” allowing men expressing themselves as females to use women’s bathrooms and locker facilities among other things.
The bills attempting to do this during 2015-2016 are SB 974, SB 1306, SB 1307, SB 1316 and HB 1510.
As of August 2016, SB 974 and HB 1510 seem dead with the push being made regarding SB 1306, SB 1307 and SB 1316.
The bills make “sexual orientation, gender identity or expression” a protected class prohibiting discrimination in housing (school dorms), public accommodation (rest rooms, locker rooms, showers) and employment.
Bathroom Bills Back In Pa As SB 1306 And SB 1307 — Public outcry stopped pending Pennsylvania legislation that would open ladies rooms and girls sports teams to men but the termites in Harrisburg never sleep and new bills were quickly introduced to catch the sane occupants of the Keystone State off guard.
So on June 10, SB 1306 and SB 1307 were introduced by Republican zealots that, like SB 974, would prohibit “sexual orientation, gender identity or expression” from discrimination in “public accommodations” like, well, public restrooms.
And school showers.
And school sports teams.
And it would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” to the protected classes making it difficult for businesses to fire or discipline those describing themselves as gay or transgendered or whatever.
The prime sponsor of both bills is Sen. Pat Browne, a Republican who represents the 16th District which is in Lehigh County, and who is also the prime sponsor of SB 974.
Brown is being strongly backed by former conservative hero Scott Wagner, a Republican who represents the 28th district which is York County.
SB 1307 adds to the law the phrasing Public policies, reflecting an open and welcoming environment and ensuring equal opportunity, foster economic growth and prosperity which benefit the inhabitants of this Commonwealth. Conversely, the absence of nondiscrimination protections hinder efforts to recruit and retain the diversity of talented individuals and successful enterprises required for a thriving economy and strong public sector on which the inhabitants of this Commonwealth depend.
Sen. Wagner, are you saying that if a guy wearing fishnet stockings comes to you asking to drive one of your trash trucks, there is policy that now prevents you from hiring him?
This is not true.
The only thing Senator that would now prevent you from hiring such a man is your own prejudices. Please don’t project them on to the rest of us.
Protected classes do not foster economic growth and prosperity. They hurt economic growth and prosperity. The goal should not be to expand them but to eliminate them.
A discussion of Wagner’s and Browne’s bizarre crusade can be found on this archived broadcast of It’s A New Day 1180 AM WFYL below:
Wagner Doubles Down On Open Ladies Rooms — An email has been forwarded to us from Pennsylvania State Sen. Scott Wagner (R-28) in which he doubles down in support of legislation which most feel will mandate opening traditional private places for females in schools and businesses to males claiming to be women.
Sister legislation HB 1510 remains similarly and thankfully entangled in the House.
Wagner in his missive correctly notes that the bills were introduced before the open ladies room controversy happened and insists it won’t change anything with regard to state law.
That’s naive. Just because Wagner couldn’t see what was coming doesn’t mean the powerful interests who lobbied for the bill didn’t. And how, exactly, does a bill “prohibiting discrimination against LGBT individuals as it relates to . . . public accommodations” exempt public restrooms?
And school locker rooms?
Most troubling, though, is that Wagner, who has generally championed the needs of business, supported SB 974 knowing full-well it expanded “protected classes“.
Being in a protected class does not help one find employment. Just consider the employment rates for those in a “protected class” verses those who aren’t.
This is not due to bigotry. This is due to self preservation. A small business-owner will bend over backwards to avoid hiring a person from a “protected class” because it is exponentially harder to fire one in that class if that person turns out to be a bad employee.
Now, if one has a company that has grown big enough to have its own HR department fully able to keep up with the latest in employment law and do the appropriate record keeping of employee failings some of the risk is mitigated but if one is part of a three-man LLC and has to do the hiring and firing face to face along with a thousand other things, this is the type of government interference that causes ulcers.
As someone who has run a business and who has hired gays knowing full well they were gay — really, Scott where do you think gays are more inclined to seek employment, journalism/advertising or trash collection? — employee sex lives are not an issue for the vast majority of business owners. Show up on time and meet deadlines. Everyone is happy. Special protection does not help anybody yet probably hurts everyone.
And one more thing Senator. The “special snowflake” stuff does not become you. If you think you are being “bullied” or “intimidated” when angry constituents contact you, you probably should stick to trash collection.
Here is Sen. Wagner’s email:
Over the past several months, my office has received hundreds of phone calls and emails regarding my co-sponsorship of SB 974, The Pennsylvania Fairness Act. This legislation would add sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, effectively prohibiting discrimination against LGBT individuals as it relates to employment, housing, and public accommodations. I have been asked to remove my name as a co-sponsor of SB 974 because of recent events in the news related to how bathrooms are dealt with in other states, as well as President Obama’s recent directive regarding schools and Title IX funding.
Let me be very clear – I will not be removing my name from this legislation. Allow me to explain why.
As an employer and a Pennsylvanian, I believe that everyone should be treated fairly and with dignity.
As an employer, I do not care what your sexual preference is as long as you perform at or beyond the required expectations of your job. The fact remains that without this legislation there are a group of citizens that can legally be fired or overlooked because of their sexual orientation instead of their job performance. This is a step in the right direction to ensure workers are not being discriminated against.
This is why I put my name on this legislation, and this is what I will continue to work toward. The fact that attempts have been made to intimidate me and other supporters of SB 974 to try to get us to remove our co-sponsorships of this legislation and are trying to change the conversation to make it about men in women’s bathrooms should not deter us from our goal.
Cities all across Pennsylvania have had ordinances similar to SB 974 for well over 20 years without a single issue as it relates to bathrooms. From a very practical perspective, SB 974 changes absolutely nothing about the way that bathrooms are dealt with, in spite of claims to the contrary that are full of legalese and references to court decisions from states with laws that are very different from Pennsylvania’s.
I believe that it is critical that we find a way to treat LGBT people with the dignity and fairness that they deserve – that we all deserve. I am equally committed to work with concerned groups to find ways to improve the legislation. If there are valid concerns related to individuals with deeply held religious convictions, we should work to fix them. If there are real, concrete concerns with the way that bathrooms will be handled, we should listen.
What we should not do, however, is completely abandon all efforts to gain fairness for the LGBT community. What we should not do is use fear as a tool to attempt to bully legislators into just giving up on this important issue.
Those of you that know me, know this – I will not be bullied.
I encourage those of you with serious concerns about this legislation to continue to contact me so that we can continue our work on this issue. My staff and I have spent a great deal of time with interest groups on both sides of this issue attempting to find a way to accomplish everyone’s goals, and we will continue to do so.
I know that fellow Pennsylvanians share my commitment to make our great Commonwealth a state that is open and welcoming to everyone, whether that means changing our Human Relations Act or addressing our oppressive tax and regulatory systems.
I appreciate your support, and look forward to continuing the effort to create a better Pennsylvania with everyone.
Barack Bathroom Push Backed By Pa Bills — Donna Ellingsen has let us know that Barack Obama’s national boys-in-the-girls-room public school policy can only become law if the Pennsylvania legislature lets it happen, which some in Harrisburg are trying to make so with HB 1510 and SB 974.
She has forwarded us a letter from Pennsylvania Family Council which notes that President Obama’s bathroom bullying directive is not an executive order. It is not an administrative regulation. This has no force of law or legal authority behind it, but asks schools to voluntarily throw away every student’s right to bodily privacy and threatens to remove Title IX funding if they do not.
Donna points out that federal funding provides about 10 percent of Pennsylvania public school budgets but that money comes with a lot of strings attached — besides letting boys into the girls room.
The Pennsylvania taxpayer would likely be far better off rejecting all the money and the mandates that come along with it.
Kudos Donna for bringing this up.
By the way, Delaware County’s James Santora (163rd) is among the few Republicans sponsoring HB 1510.
Pennsylvania Bathroom Bills — A pair of very stupid bills were introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature last fall that would give emotionally disturbed males legal access to all public women’s rooms.
Biology is reality. Other people’s feelings matter. If a person born a male — which means he is a male — is uncomfortable using a man’s restroom he has an emotional issue and you can feel sorry for him. One has to recognize, however, that women have feelings too and most — the overwhelming majority we suspect — would feel very uncomfortable about him entering their private space.
And this is leaving aside the impossibility of weeding out males who merely claim to identify as female to enter ladies rooms.
Target gave men by-right access to the ladies rooms at their stores and have found it to be very bad business.
Voting for these bills would be very bad politics.