Transgender anti-discrimination bill not quite dead
The measure sailed through the House of Delegates last weekend 86-52, but met resistance across the hall when Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller steered the bill in the rules committee. It was the only one of the 94 bills to come to his chamber on cross-over that met that fate.
Miller explained the decision by saying last week that his body had already spent considerable time on hot-button social issues and he guessed it would be unlikely that the bill would pass. "At this point in time I’d say the chances of passage of that bill are next to none," Miller said last week.
The budget still must pass again in both chambers and other complicated bills have not yet come out of committee with less than a week left of session.
That launched a campaign by supporters. House sponsor Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk sat outside Miller's office for an hour to try an meet with him. And on Friday members of the House gay caucus sent a letter to Miller, urging him to release the bill so it could be heard in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
"We believe that this bill is absolutely necessary for the civil protections of a subset of Marylanders who are most vulnerable to discrimination and prejudices," according to the letter, which was signed by the seven openly gay members of the House.
But the move might not save the bill this year. Frosh warned that he is unsure how many members of his committee support it. He also noted that many in the transgender community don't like it. And he warned that it could be amended, which would mean that, if the measure made past the Senate floor, it would still need to be passed again in the House.