LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination legislation has languished for over a decade in the General Assembly. A comprehensive non-discrimination law would protect LGBT people from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations – just as it does for 11 enumerated characteristics today.

In an attempt to see at least one protection through for LGBT Pennsylvanians this legislative session, Senator Pat Browne (R-16, Lehigh) introduced three separate LGBT-inclusive bills in June, SB 1306 for employment, SB 1307 for housing, and SB 1316 for public accommodations.

On June 22, Senator Scott Wagner (R-28, York) held a Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee to consider SB 1307, LGBT-inclusive housing protections. Senator Wayne Fontana (D-42, Allegheny) successfully amended the bill to include LGBT-inclusive employment protections. Senator Mario Scavello (R-40, Monroe) attempted to add a significant religious exemption amendment, which failed. In the end, the amended bill, with housing and employment non-discrimination protections, was voted out of the committee in a 7-4 vote, with the following vote breakdown:

Yea  Nay
Sen. Scott Wagner (R-28, York)
Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46, Washington)     
Sen. John Blake (D-22, Lackawanna)
Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-42, Allegheny)
Sen. Art Haywood (D-4, Philadelphia)
Sen. Tom Killion (R-9, Chester)
Sen. Shirley Kitchen (D-3, Philadelphia)
Sen. David Argall (R-29, Berks)
Sen. Michele Brooks (R-50, Mercer)
Sen. Mario Scavello (R-40, Monroe)
Sen. Joseph Scarnati (R-25, Jefferson)

The amended bill was moved to the Senate Rules and Executive Nominations committee. Here, it must wait for action by the Senate leadership to be called for a vote on the floor. If adopted by the State Senate, it would then be sent to the House of Representatives for concurrence.

Public accommodations protections is not currently part of SB 1307 that awaits action.


Category: News from Harrisburg