FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Mike Sturla
Chairman, Democratic Policy Committee
State Rep. Dan Frankel
HDPC examines bill to end sexual orientation discrimination
HARRISBURG, Sept. 19 – The House Democratic Policy Committee heard from legal and business experts today regarding the impact that discrimination is having on Pennsylvania businesses and local governments and how legislation (H.B. 300) could positively impact the state, according to committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster.
State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, requested the hearing and served as its co-chair. Frankel has introduced House Bill 300, which would protect people from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation based on sexual orientation and gender identity, in the past two legislative sessions.
"In recent polls Pennsylvanians have made it clear that discrimination of any kind is unacceptable in our Commonwealth," Sturla said. "The wave of support is growing across the state in favor of measures like House Bill 300. Representative Frankel has been an outspoken advocate for equality in our state and today’s hearing was essential in exploring some of the elements of his bill."
Frankel added, "In addition to making state law more fair and just, this would make Pennsylvania more economically competitive. We are surrounded on three of four sides by states that ban anti-gay discrimination – Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware and New York. They have a competitive advantage over Pennsylvania when it comes to attracting and retaining businesses and residents. I applaud the growing number of municipalities enacting these protections at the local level, but an estimated 70 percent of Pennsylvanians still live or work in communities that do not provide these protections. The people of Pennsylvania support this commonsense change, and it's the right thing to do."
Those testifying at the hearing included: Jeffrey Harbison, president, Springfield Township (Montgomery County) Board of Commissioners; Ted Martin, executive director, Equality PA; Jenna Mehnert, executive director, National Association of Social Workers, Pennsylvania Chapter; and Evan Urbania, president, Independence Business Alliance, Philadelphia.
For more information about the Policy Committee and hearing materials, visit www.pahouse.com/PolicyCommittee.