Special Report - March 30, 2009
This was a busy week at the North Carolina General Assembly and by Thursday afternoon when legislators headed home for the weekend, everyone was ready to go. The Senate appropriations committees continued their work putting together a state budget in the midst of some extremely difficult revenue numbers. Lawmakers are trying to immediately shore up the state employees health plan and by weeks end were rushing to meet one of several filing deadlines for bills.
On the family issues front, 62 members of the State House of Representatives co-sponsored HB 776-No Bullying Anyone At Public Schools, which would codify an existing State Board of Education prohibiting "all acts of harassment, bullying or discrimination" in public schools. This bill was offered as an alternative to the pro-homosexual HB 548-School Violence Prevention Act that includes a list of specific characteristics of bully victims including "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression."
Two other bills filed this week would also put the terms "sexual orientation, gender identification, and gender expression" into North Carolina statutes for the first time in an attempt to legitimize "alternative" sexual behaviors. HB 721 and SB 395-Carrboro/Housing Discrimination and SB843-Nondiscrimination in State Employment both add this language to nondiscrimination policies for a local ordinance as well as a statewide policy.
There was little to no movement on several bills of interest, including:
HB 361 and SB 272-Defense of Marriage, which would give North Carolina citizens the opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment defining marriage as only the union of one man and one woman. HB 88 and SB 221-Healthy Youth Act, which would change the standard for sexuality education in public schools from abstinence until marriage to comprehensive sexuality education and require teaching respect for "committed relationships" as equivalent to "mutually faithful monogamous heterosexual relationship in the context of marriage."
Several pro-life bills including HB 168 and SB 210-"Choose Life" Special Plate, HB 397-Conscience Protection/Contraceptive Coverage, HB 432-Conscience Protection/Health Care Providers, and HB 431 and SB 236-Abortion-Parental Consent Notarized also received no attention.
The pace of the General Assembly is picking up and more bills can expect to be heard each week in committee. The pro-homosexual lobby is pushing its agenda hard in the areas of nondiscrimination and education. The question remains how much fair debate will be allowed on such controversial bills.
Copyright © 2009. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.