ABOUT THE BILL TO "ADD THE WORDS"
Every day in Idaho, gay and transgender people are refused service at businesses, risk losing jobs and apartments and face violence in their own communities because Idaho leaders have yet to do what's right and include us in Idaho non-discrimination laws. Idaho's anti-discrimination laws cover age, sex, religion, national origin and disability. Gay and Transgender people are not yet included in the law.
Idaho has 35 state "legislative districts" each with its own State Senator and two State Representatives. Each one votes and represents the people of Idaho at the annual legislative session in the State Capitol in Boise every January to April. Your Idaho Senator and two State Representatives are your voice in the making of Idaho law.
WHAT'S THE IDAHO LEGISLATURE?
Our Congress members & U.S. Senators in Washington DC make Federal laws. Idaho lawmakers or "legislators" make state laws. Idaho has 70 members of the House of Representatives, two for each legislative district. Your two Representatives & one Senator make up the Idaho legislature. They're your voice in whether a bill gets enough votes to pass the Idaho State House of Representatives & Idaho State Senate before being signed by the Governor & becoming law.
Idaho's long standing Human Rights Act prohibits job discrimination by allowing the Idaho Human Rights Commission to instigate, mediate and make findings in cases of possible discrimination. The Commission is charged with protecting employers as well as employees from accusations of unfair treatment or patterns of injustice in hiring, firing and in pay and career advancement. Idaho's Human Rights Act makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of a person's age, disability, race, sex, national origin or religion. Gay and Transgender people have not yet been included in the law.
WHAT IS PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION
Like most states, Idaho's anti-discrimination laws include a ban on discrimination in business and government services or "public accommodation" as it's known in the law. The right to public accommodation is the right to use a swimming pool, locker room, to be treated by physicians, served in grocery stores or at gas stations, as well as the right to eat at the same lunch counters, be seated at a restaurant or ride busses and public transportation with other passengers.
ADDING THE WORDS
Today it remains legal to fire, evict and refuse to serve gay and transgender people in the state of Idaho. Some major cities have their own city bans on discrimination but, in the vast majority of the state no law says that gay and transgender Idahoans should have the liberty to work at a job to support their families, rent housing, buy products locally and do business to contribute to their communities. Each year for more than ten years a bill to "add the words" and include gay and transgender people in Idaho's non-discrimination laws has been presented to the legislature. Until 2015, not one of the bills was ever allowed a public hearing where Idahoans could testify about the impacts of discrimination on people they know or the cost to the state when businesses refuse to locate where discrimination is not yet banned. It's urgent now that Idaho's legislative leaders add the words "sexual orientation, gender identity" to Idaho's Human Rights Act so gay and transgender people are included in the law.