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Mass. Judiciary Committee puts off decision on Transgender Rights Bill & other "culture war" bills until May 18. May get further extension until June 30.

Will they try to push it thru at end of session?

POSTED: May 12, 2010

The deadline has been extended to May 18 for the Judiciary Committee to decide on the various bills still before then, including the Transgender Rights and Hate Crimes Bill (H1728) and other "culture war" bills. On that day the committee plans apply for a further extension until June 30, a staffer told MassResistance yesterday. That extension must be approved by the House and Senate.

The Committee must decide whether to move them forward for a vote by the House and Senate, or effectively "kill" them by putting them in a "study".

The original decision deadline for all committee bills this session had been March 17. But the Judiciary Committee received an extension until May 7 for several bills. But on May 7 they decided they still needed more time.

Transgender bill particularly difficult for committee

As we've reported, the most contentious bill is the Transgender Rights Bill which has been the subject of a lot of public debate and a PR blitz in the Boston Globe. Although the bill has over 100 co-sponsors (a majority of legislators), we've been told privately that most legislators don't want to have to take a public vote on it, given the recent public outcry over its incredibly radical nature.

Last session the same bill was filed with over 80 co-sponsors and never got out of the Judiciary Committee -- and for the same reason. This year it's the stated #1 priority of the homosexual lobby and they are putting on a full-court press to get it passed.

But it's a fight we think the Legislature doesn't have the stomach for right now. We think there's a good chance that the Speaker will come up with a reason to kill it, even though he's a co-sponsor of the bill. It's possible that they will attempt to re-write it to make it more palatable to conservatives, but we think it's unlikely that the homosexual lobby would be willing to give up enough to make that happen.

May hold it, then try to ram it through quickly at end of session

So in the meantime they're putting it off for as long as they can. This opens up the fear that they'll bottle it up until the final days of the session, then ram it through the House and Senate as fast as they can and avoid pressure from pro-family groups. That's what they did with the repeal of the "1913 Law" two years ago. It looked like they might try something like that during the House budget debate, but when it became public the Speaker got cold feet. We'll keep you informed on this.

Here are the "culture war" bills -- both good and bad -- that are still alive in the Judiciary Committee:

H1337  Stop schools from providing pornography to children

H3840  Repeal buffer zone at abortion clinics

H1728  Transgender Rights and Hate Crimes Bill

H1468  Physician Assisted Suicide Bill

H1746  Remove parental consent on abortions for minors

H3536 and S1656 Repeal sodomy laws and other morality laws