Leading from the Left

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Good News from the General Assembly

On Tuesday, the House Insurance Committee finally voted on the Mental Health Equity bill. They stripped out coverage for substance abuse, which is disappointing, but passed the bill with a favorable recommendation. The bill will be heard on the House floor this afternoon, and we're cautiously optimistic. It's been a long time coming, but we might finally see mental health treatment handled just like any other medical condition. About time!

On another front, the House Judiciary I committee gave the HB 1366, the "School Violence Prevention Act," a favorable report. This bill is commonly referred to as the 'bullying' bill. It was vehemently opposed by conservatives in both the JI and Education Committees because the bill specifically protects LGBT kids from bullying and violence on school campuses. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this bill passes tomorrow on the house floor.....if it does pass, it'll be the first time that a bill with the words "sexual orientation" has passed either chamber of the NC state legislature. It'll be an historic moment, if it passes.

I'll let you know tomorrow how both of these bills fared.

Finally, Speaker Joe Hackney used the power of his office to effectively kill the anti-gay, discriminatory "Defense of Marriage" Amendment. North Carolina already has a law against same-sex marriage but conservatives want to enshrine that ban in our state constitution. Treating one class of citizens differently than others has NO place in our constitution. Hackney was right to stand firm on this issue.