Hundreds of people packed a ballroom at the Doubletree Hotel in Austin tonight for a reception to kick off Equality Texas’ Lobby Day. Equality Texas Executive Director Paul Scott, barely visible above, addressed the crowd along with numerous pro-LGBT legislators.
A handful of pro-equality bills have already been filed in this year’s legislative session, but Equality Texas Legislative Director Randall Terrell told me tonight he expects several more to be filed tomorrow.
Terrell said the additional bills will include a proposed repeal of 2106, Texas’ sodomy statute, which remains on the books despite having been declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003. Terrell said he also expects a bill to be filed that would prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in housing and public accommodations. Measures have already been filed that would prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in employment and insurance. Other bills expected to be filed tomorrow would add gender identity to the state’s hate crimes law and allow people to change their gender markers on state-issued ID cards.
I’ve also heard that the two pro-equality bills that have the best chance to pass this year are a proposed study of the hate crimes act to determine why it isn’t being used, and a measure that would require school districts to report incidents of bullying and harrassment based on sexual orientation/gender identity.
For more information, go to Equality Texas’ revamped Web site at www.equalitytexas.org.