BurlingtonFreePress.com – By Lauren Ober – Free Press Staff Writer
After Gov. Jim Douglas’ veto last year of a bill that would have protected the state’s transgender population from discrimination, proponents of the measure began work to reintroduce similar legislation this legislative term.
The Gender Identity and Expression Non-Discrimination Act was introduced in the House Judiciary Committee in the spring of 2005. In spring 2006, the House passed the bill 88-47 and the Senate approved it with a voice vote. Douglas vetoed the measure, saying the language was vague, specifically relating to the word “expression.”
Transgender advocates vowed to reintroduce the bill in 2007 and have been working with the governor’s office to address his concerns, said Kara DeLeonardis, executive director of R.U.1.2? Queer Community Center.
Those redrafting the bill are looking for another legislative sponsor and hope to have it passed by the Senate by early to mid-February. Eight states, 17 U.S. cities and the District of Columbia have transgender-inclusive anti-discrimination laws.