Miller: Transgender bill unlikely to pass senate
After the House of Delegates this weekend voted overwhelmingly to prohibit employer and housing discrimination for the transgendered, the bill crossed over to the Senate Monday where it landed in an unusual committee: Senate rules.
The move presents a formidable procedural hurdle for the effort with less than two weeks left of session. There would have to be a brief hearing in the Rules Committee to determine the proper policy committee assignment. Then the policy committee would need to hear the bill before it could reach the Senate floor.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said that his chamber is engaged with the budget now and is unlikely to take up the bill.
"When we are through with the budget we’ll have time to deal with other issues that might have a chance of passage," he said after the morning session. "At this point in time I’d say the chances of passage of that bill are next to none."
He said the Senate has raised the issue in previous session, only to see it fail. "There are not the votes to move it in committee," he predicted.
Miller noted that his chamber "spent a lot of time" on "important social issues" earlier in the session that died in the House of Delegates. The Senate passed a landmark bill legalizing same-sex marriage, only to see their efforts wilt when votes could not be secured for House passage.
Proponents of the transgendered anti-discrimination bill are still pushing forward. "We are already working with allies to keep this important bill moving,"said Morgan Meneses-Sheets, the Executive Director of Equality Maryland. "
"It is challenging, but this bill would literally save lives and is worth fighting for," Meneses-Sheets.