Thursday, January 22, 2015

Nebraska: 3 bills addressing LGBT bias now pending

ConAgra Foods (brands here) sent one of its VPs to support
LGBTs in its home state and among its 33,000 employees.
NET (PBS) and KETV (ABC) said hundreds of gay rights supporters turned up at the Capitol rotunda today to support legislation addressing LGBT bias statewide. KMTV (CBS) said "dozens."
     WOWT (NBC) and KPTM (Fox) aired no estimates because they didn't show up. (WOWT might still be mad at Teh Gays because of the terrible thing Andrew Rannells did to the poor station this week on Seth Myers.)

Freshman state senator Adam Morfeld,
of Lincoln, who defeated openly gay
James Michael Bowers last fall with
68% of the vote, has introduced LB586,
a bill to outlaw LGBT employment bias.
The bills are: LB648 (Howard) Provide for adoption by two adult persons; LB586 (Morfeld) Prohibit discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity; and LB647 (Nordquist) Prohibit discrimination in foster care against qualified LGBTs who pass HHS screenings.
     Nebraska is home to some of the most well-known companies in America: Union Pacific, TD Ameritrade, Mutual of Omaha and Berkshire Hathaway, the Warren Buffett behemoth, but only one, ConAgra, (HRC rating: 100%) dispatched a representative to appear on camera to support its LGBT employees and customers.
     Speaking of HRC, it issued a statement from Nebraska Field Organizer Drew Heckman:
     A welcome mat must be dropped at Nebraska’s front door step to tell the nation our state is a place for all people; it is imperative that LGBT people have legal protections and a fair chance to reach their goals and desires, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
     Fred Knapp, of NET, had this to say (you can hear him here):
     Lincoln Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks was one of several senators to address a crowd of several hundred gay rights supporters in the Capitol Rotunda. She referred to a proposal that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to other characteristics, like race and religion, that could not be used to discriminate in hiring or keeping employees. Pansing Brooks said with businesses needing more workers, not having such protections doesn’t make sense. "For us as a state to discriminate and limit part of the working pool that’s available to us is purely shortsighted and stupid," she said, to laughter and applause.
     Another bill would prohibit the state Department of Health and Human Services from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity when placing state wards in out-of-home care. A third would allow two people, regardless of their marital status, to adopt children. Similar bills have been unsuccessful in the past, but Lincoln Sen. Adam Morfeld, introducer of the employment bill, said he thinks this year will be different. "I think that this issue’s time has come. Personally, I think it’s past, in the sense of we should have taken care of this a long time ago. But I think the issue’s time has come and I think the crowd that we see in the Capitol here tonight (sic) displays that," Morfeld said after the lunchtime gathering.

KOLN, Lincoln's CBS affiliate, published the following, from Jeff Beck, Finance Director of Saddle Creek Records (the ConAgra of Indie Rock!), on its website:
Saddle Creek and Slowdown support the workplace equality legislation because it mirrors our commitment to providing a diverse, creative and vibrant community in which everyone feels open and able to focus on their jobs.

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