Anti-transgender bill finds opponents in tourism industry and its benefactors

By : Wire Report
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Sioux Falls, S.D. (AP) – Opponents of a bill that would prohibit transgender students in South Dakota from using the bathroom of their choice are taking aim at the state’s $3.8 billion tourism industry.

Activists this week used a Twitter hashtag created by South Dakota’s Tourism Department to criticize lawmakers for advancing legislation the activists believe would lead to bullying and discrimination, the Argus Leader newspaper reported.

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Indiana sees bipartisan push for hate crime laws

By : Wire Report
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Indianapolis (AP) – Forty-five states have hate crime laws, but Indiana isn’t one of them.

Indiana was once a Ku Klux Klan stronghold and the Southern Poverty Law Center says there are 15 hate groups currently operating – which it defines as groups that “attack or malign an entire class of people” regardless of whether the group advocates for or engages in violence or other criminal activity. Efforts to add a hate crime designation to the criminal code have failed for years amid concerns that it would elevate one type of crime over others that could be equally brutal.

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LGBT anti-discrimination laws still stalling in Missouri

By : Wire Report
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Jefferson City, Mo. (AP) – Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon used his final State of the State address to implore lawmakers to bar discrimination against LGBT people, but leaders in the Republican-dominated Legislature say that’s unlikely to happen before Nixon leaves office.

It appears more likely that lawmakers will strengthen Missouri’s religious objections laws, which protect people’s right to act in accordance with their religious beliefs, even if that means discriminating against non-protected groups such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

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Watermark’s 2016 Florida Legislative Tracker

By : Watermark Staff
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I’m just a bill, yes I’m only a bill, and I might just get poked with Rick Scott’s quill!

That’s right boys and girls, it’s that time of year again when Florida’s Congress will get together in Tallahassee to yell and scream and try to get some legislating done.

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Florida House leaves Bathroom Bill flushed and the Conscience Protection Bill unadopted

By : Jeremy Williams
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May 1 was to be the day to get things done at the Florida Capitol, during the final session for state representatives and senators. Instead, the halls were silent as the House adjourned three days early due to a budget impasse with the Senate over Medicaid expansion.

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli (R-Merritt Island) thanked the state representatives for their “patience as we work through a really incredibly unusual session” before declaring adjournment sine die on April 28.

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Conservative Corner: Religious Freedom vs. Civil Liberties

By : Mimi Planas
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Mimi Planas

Mimi Planas

Last week Indiana passed their Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Now, let’s all take a deep breath, shall we?

Much hoopla has resulted from this supposed “anti-gay” legislation enacted in Indiana March 26. The LGBT community and media are up in arms and downright livid, I have questions as to why all the drama.

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Local bakery harassed after video posted online

By : Staff Report
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Longwood, Fla. – A Longwood bakery was ambushed by a YouTuber as he recorded a phone call of himself asking for a cake with an anti-gay remark on it and posted the video.

Joshua Feuerstein, whose Facebook page refers to himself as a former television and radio evangelist in Arizona, contacted Cut The Cake in Longwood and asked them to create a sheet cake with the phrase “We do not support gay marriage” written on it.

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Anti-gay legislation moves through state, equality bills sit in committee

By : Jeremy Williams
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Tallahassee – Florida’s Legislature has been busy this year pushing through several anti-gay and discriminatory bills masked in the argument that they are to protect women and children.

The “Single-Sex Public Facilities” bill was introduced in the Florida House on Feb. 4 and would prohibit transgender individuals from using public facilities that align with their gender identities. While the bill does not use the word “transgender,” opponents of the bills say its sole purpose is targeting the transgender community.

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House committee advances anti-transgender bill

By : Jamie Hyman
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Tallahassee After a 9-4 vote moved forward an anti-transgender bill that would bar people from using restrooms that align with their gender identities, audience members chanted, “Trans lives matter!” in protest.

The Civil Justice Subcommittee discussed and voted on HB 583 March 4. The votes split right along party lines, with Republicans voting in favor of the bill and Democrats voting against.

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Former Georgia AG: ‘religious freedom’ bills excuse discrimination

By : Wire Report
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ATLANTA (AP) — Former Georgia Attorney General Michael Bowers said Feb. 24 that two bills being debated by lawmakers create an excuse to discriminate against LGBT people or break state laws and are “deserving of a quick death.”

Bowers warned that the bills could act as a defense for a marriage license clerk refusing to issue the document to gay or mixed-religion couples or for parents opposed to vaccinations or school courses.

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Democrats try to bring gay protection, other tabled bills to Senate and House floors

By : Wire Report
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HELENA, Montana — Democrats on Feb. 16 tried unsuccessfully to “blast” four tabled bills to the Senate and House floors, including one that would ban discrimination against gay people.

With a full gallery of supporters, Sen. Christine Kaufmann, of Helena, attempted to get Senate Bill 179 out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it was tabled in January. A blast motion allows lawmakers the chance to bring tabled bills out of committee if at least 26 of 50 senators agree to it. She asked that the bill be put to a vote on the Senate floor Wednesday.

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Committee hears bills to ban LGBT discrimination in Nebraska

By : Wire Report
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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – A Nebraska legislative committee heard more than four hours of often-emotional testimony Feb. 4 about bills that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in hiring, adoptions and foster parent selection.

Each of the three bills has been introduced in past years, but this year’s Judiciary Committee is made up of mostly new members, including vocal LGBT advocates Sen. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln and Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln.

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