TODAY: Ohio & New Hampshire Hold Hearings on LGBTQ-Inclusive Non-Discrimination LegislationBy Shane Stahl • January 31, 2018 • 9:02 am
Today, committees in two states – New Hampshire and Ohio – will hold hearings on bills that would expand their existing non-discrimination laws to include gender identity, and in the state of Ohio, sexual orientation as well.
The Ohio Fairness Act (HB 160) would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s non-discrimination laws, protecting LGBTQ people in housing, employment, and public accommodations. The bill has been introduced by Rep. Nickie Antonio for the past 11 years, with the last hearing taking place in 2009. This year, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce has officially endorsed the bill for the first time in history. A previous bill that would have only included housing and employment was passed through the House, but failed to move in the Senate. Governor John Kasich has gone on record as being supportive of non-discrimination legislation.
In New Hampshire, House Bill 1319, also coined #TransBillNH, would add protections for transgender people to the Granite State’s existing non-discrimination law; sexual orientation is already covered. A previous version of the bill was passed through committee to the House in March 2017 with strong bipartisan support before being tabled by Speaker Shawn Jasper. On Tuesday, Governor Chris Sununu stated in an interview that he is ready and willing to move forward with such legislation. The governor also created a special task force in December charged with investigating and combatting discrimination.
The New Hampshire committee hearing takes place at 1:00pm ET on January 31. Freedom New Hampshire, the campaign to secure transgender-inclusive protections in the Granite State, will be sharing live updates and a live stream from the committee hearing this afternoon.