This Week in Non-Discrimination: Legislative Sessions Begin in Many States, with LGBTQ Advancement on the Horizon

By Shane Stahl • January 6, 2018 • 1:31 pm

With the 2018 legislative session already underway, it’s essential to keep track of all relevant LGBTQ and non-discrimination bills, legislation, and executive actions happening across the country at the state level.

Several anti-LGBTQ bills have already been introduced – and others may follow in the coming weeks, but we could also see great opportunities for advancement across the country. Here, a look at what has already in occurred in just the first few days of 2018!

NEW HAMPSHIRE

  • New Hampshire legislators will be back to work as the state’s legislative session begins this first week of 2018. #TransBillNH, filed as House Bill 1319, will be assigned to the legislature’s Judiciary Committee for review. Recent developments regarding the bill, including a committee formed by the governor to study the impact of discrimination, have increased the momentum to pass it through the legislature and bring it to a vote. Passage of the bill would add transgender people to the list of protected classes under the state’s current non-discrimination law, which has protected gays, lesbians, and bisexuals for 20 years.

MISSOURI

  • Missouri’s legislative session began this week, with 4 anti-LGBTQ bills already before the legislature for consideration: two bills with anti-transgender bathroom language,  and two concerning same sex marriage. These bills are identical to legislation introduced in 2017 that was defeated.
  • On the positive side,the Missouri Non-Discrimination Act was also filed for the 20th year in a row, after receiving its first-ever House hearing last year.

OHIO

  • Legislators in Ohio will hold a January hearing on proactive legislation to end anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the first few weeks of 2018. House Bill 160, also known as the Ohio Fairness Act, would provide protections for LGBTQ people in housing, employment, and public accommodations. This marks the first time a for hearing on such a bill in nearly 8 years.

MISSISSIPPI

  • Two cases challenging HB 1523, Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant and Bryant v. Barber, both went before the Supreme Court on Friday. The court will determine next week whether or not to grant review in either case before the end of the 2018 term.
  • The University of Southern Mississippi baseball team lost out on three home games due to the state’s anti-LGBTQ law HB 1523. Stony Brook, a university based in Long Island, New York, was scheduled to play USM in Hattiesburg from February 23-25. However, a ban on non-essential travel to Mississippi, signed by NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, prevented the series from happening

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