Hate Crimes & Adoption Bills this week

Hate Crimes info:

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition

For Immediate Release: Dated April 26, 2009

Hate Crimes Bills This Week

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition is anticipating a big week for Hate Crimes legislation at both the state and federal levels.

This Wednesday, April 29, the House Judiciary Committee will consider HB0335 by Jeanne Richardson (D-Memphis). This bill would add “gender identity or expression” to Tennessee’s hate crimes sentencing enhancement statute.

We were thrilled last week when the Criminal Practice Subcommittee passed the bill without any dissent or controversy. Please contact the members of the full House Judiciary Committee and ask them to vote “Yes” on HB0335:

Kent Coleman (D-Murfreesboro), Chair & Bill Co-sponsor, rep.kent.coleman@capitol.tn.gov
Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol), Vice-Chair, rep.jon.lundberg@capitol.tn.gov
Janis Sontany (D-Nashville), Secretary & Bill Co-sponsor, rep.janis.sontany@capitol.tn.gov

Eddie Bass (D-Prospect), rep.eddie.bass@capitol.tn.gov
Karen Camper (D-Memphis), Bill Co-sponsor, rep.karen.camper@capitol.tn.gov
Vance Dennis (R-Savannah), rep.vance.dennis@capitol.tn.gov
Chad Faulkner (R-Luttrell), rep.chad.faulkner@capitol.tn.gov
Henry Fincher (D-Cookeville), rep.henry.fincher@capitol.tn.gov
Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), rep.brian.kelsey@capitol.tn.gov
Judd Matheny (R-Tullahoma), rep.judd.matheny@capitol.tn.gov
Mike Stewart (D-Nashville), Bill Co-sponsor, rep.mike.stewart@capitol.tn.gov
Eric Watson (R-Cleveland), rep.eric.watson@capitol.tn.gov

The House Judiciary Committee meets on Wednesday, April 29, at 8:30 am, in Legislative Plaza, Room 31.

We also wish to thank the additional co-sponsors who have signed onto the bill since it passed in subcommittee on Wednesday:

Sherry Jones (D-Antioch)
Mark Maddox (D-Dresden), House Democratic Whip
David Shepard (D-Dickson)
Mike Kernell (D-Memphis)
Janis Sontany (D-Nashville), Secretary, Judiciary Committee
MIke Turner (D-Old Hickory), House Democratic Caucus Chair
Gary Odom (D-Nashville), House Democratic Leader
Kent Coleman (D-Murfreesboro), Chair, Judiciary Committee
Joe Pitts (D-Clarksville)
Joe Armstrong (D-Knoxville), Chair, Health & Human Resources Committee

Furthermore, on Thursday, the Nashville chapter of the NAACP voted unanimously to endorse HB0335, and ask all of its members to support this legislation. We greatly appreciate their action as well.

This week, the United States House of Representative may also vote on federal Hate Crimes legislation, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, H.R.1913, possibly as early as Wednesday. The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition strongly supports this legislation which would provide federal support to local law enforcement to prosecute hate crimes targeting many groups, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

When the House passed this legislation in 2007, two Tennesseans voted in favor of it. Please contact Stephen Cohen (D) and Jim Cooper (D) to thank them for their previous support of hate crimes legislation and to ask them to vote YES on H.R.1913. Then please contact the other members of the Tennessee delegation and ask them to vote to help prosecute hate crimes:

Phil Roe, M.D.(R)
John Duncan (R)
Zach Wamp (R), candidate for Governor of Tennessee
Lincoln Davis (D)
Bart Gordon (D)
Marsha Blackburn (R)
John Tanner (D)

Other major bills of interest to TTPC this week are:

SB 1250, by Dewayne Bunch,
Ban on Teaching Sexual Diversity in Schools
Senate Education Committee
Tuesday, April 28, 3:30 pm
Legislative Plaza, Room 12
TTPC Opposes this bill.

*SB 1934 by *Burchett
Opposes Tennessee’s compliance with the Federal REAL ID Act of 2005
Senate Transportation Committee
Tuesday, April 28, 11:00 am
Legislative Plaza, Room 12.
TTPC Supports this bill

HB 1426 by *Niceley, companion bill to SB1934
Opposes Tennessee’s compliance with the Federal REAL ID Act of 2005
House Public Safety Subcommittee
Tuesday, April 28, 3:45 pm
Legislative Plaza, Room 16.
TTPC Supports this bill

Other bills of interest that were heard last week were:

HB 0451 by *Dunn
Requires, rather than encourages, school districts to include certain criteria in policies prohibiting harassment, intimidation, or bullying.
Passed 90 to 2. The Senate companion bill had passed previously, 33 to 0.
TTPC Supported this bill

HB 0639 by *Maggart, Faulkner, Evans, Weaver
New requirements for Voter ID’s in Tennessee
House Elections Subcommittee
A Senate amendment opposed by TTPC was defeated. No further action on the bill has been scheduled to date.
TTPC Opposes this bill
A similar bill, HB1838 by Todd, was defeated in this same subcommitteee 2 weeks ago.

Marisa Richmond
President

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is an organization designed to educate and advocate on behalf of transgender related legislation at the Federal, State and local levels. TTPC is dedicated to raising public awareness and building alliances with other organizations concerned with equal rights legislation.

For more information, or to make a donation, contact:

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition
P.O. Box 92335
Nashville, TN 37209
http://ttgpac.com
TTGPAC@aol.com
(615)293-6199
(615)353-1834 fax

Adoption Bill info:
To whom it may concern,

We do not know if you are aware, but the Senate Bill 0078, amending Tennessee adoption laws, has passed the second consideration. It is currently being referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. If the bill goes into effect, it will be enacted July 1, 2009.

Tennessee Code Annotated Section 36-1-115A will be amended by adding the following language at the end of the sub section.

“Provided, however, no person in a cohabitating sexual relationship outside of a marriage that is valid under the constitution and laws of this state shall be eligible to adopt a minor.”

Tennessee Code Section 36-1-143 will be amended by adding the new stipulations such as:

“The prohibition of this section applies equally to cohabitating opposite-sex and same-sex individuals.”

Such inclusions are an outright discrimination against the LGBT community, as the state of Tennessee has not legalized marriage for same sex relationships. According to the Tennessee Department of Child Services, there are over 1200 child adoptions annually. Eleven of those adoptions were to unmarried couples while 269 were to singles. The department estimates that 236 of these adoptions were to singles that fall into the category of a cohabitating sexual relationship, however there is no data on the number of singles that were living in a cohabitating sexual relationship because TDCS does not collect the information during the process.

Considering this information, why is a bill being proposed to discriminate against these individuals when prior to this bill their relationship status was of no significance?

Not only is this affecting individuals seeking adoption, but also the tax payers of Tennessee. Assuming the passing of this bill, there will an increase in state and Federal expenditures with a total of $4,996,080, of which 49% ($2,448,079) will be through TennCare, which seems rather ironic due to the budget cuts of this program in the past few years.

We hope this bill does not pass because it would impact all Tennesseans. Aside from the impact upon the LGBT community, children currently residing with foster families in the state system would receive the largest blow as they reenter a state of limbo. Everyday taxpayers will also suffer monetary blows from this bill. As tax paying and voting citizens of the state of Tennessee, we hope that you would not stand for a bill such as this and contact your state representative concerning these issues. We are reaching out to you because we believe you to be concerned citizens who would act for what you feel is right.

Sincerely,

Concerned Students at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Sb0078@gmail.com

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