No Protection for LGBTs in New Bill

State Rep. Babette Josephs wanted to prohibit discrimination over sexual orientation and gender identity in a new bill, but was defeated this week

State Rep. Babette Josephs says she would like to expand discrimination protections offered in a proposed E-verify bill when the State Government Committee met this week to consider the measure.

Senate Bill 637 would require contractors and subcontractors on public works projects to participate in the E-verify Program, a federal program that essentially verifies the work eligibility of potential employees. For its part, the legislation would prohibit employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of race, ethnicity, color or national origin.

But Josephs would have also liked to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the protections. So the Democrat proposed an amendment that was defeated by the Republicans.

“This is disappointing,” Josephs says. “If the bill is going to extend protection from discrimination to public works contractors and subcontractors, why not cover other characteristics against which employees may be discriminated?”