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Eye On Boise

McKenzie: No public testimony to be taken on ‘Add The Words’ bill

The Idaho Press-Tribune has published a correction to its Sunday story that reported that Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, would allow public testimony at the print hearing on the "Add The Words" human rights bill; instead, McKenzie says he won't allow public testimony. “If I don't think that it's going to get a majority to get all the way through the process to the governor's desk, I don't have a hearing on it,” McKenzie told the Press-Tribune. Click below for their full report.

McKenzie won't hear public testimony on proposed human rights bill

Correction: McKenzie will only allow print hearing



© 2012 Idaho Press-Tribune

TREASURE VALLEY — Idaho Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, will hold a print hearing in the State Affairs committee on a proposed bill that would ban discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. But, to correct an article printed on the front page of the Idaho Press-Tribune Sunday, the print hearing does not allow for public testimony.

A print hearing means one or two sponsors will briefly present the proposed bill to the committee so it can decide whether or not it will be printed.

If it is printed, it will be given a bill number and assigned to a committee — likely back to Senate State Affairs. If that's the case, McKenzie said he won't schedule a full hearing for the bill, in which the committee would vote to drop the bill or send it to the Senate floor.

It's not because I favor or disfavor this bill or any other bills that I hold in the drawer,” McKenzie said. “If I don't think that it's going to get a majority to get all the way through the process to the governor's desk, I don't have a hearing on it.”

State Affairs committee member and Senate Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello, said he requested a print hearing, which will be scheduled soon. After talking to several other committee members, he said it's still hard to predict whether or not the committee would support the bill.

It is an issue that brings a lot of emotions,” he said.

Only the two Democratic members of the committee indicated they'd like a hearing, McKenzie said. Committee members did not immediately respond to emails Tuesday.

The bill's supporters, such as Add the Words campaigners, have tried for several years to get the words “gender identity, sexual orientation” added to the Idaho Human Rights Act. There have been print hearings for it in the past, and last year it was presented as a personal bill, McKenzie said. But the legislation has never made it past that step.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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