Bill To Protect LGBTQ Workers Passes Wyoming House Committee
A bill that would protect LGBTQ people from job discrimination passed the Wyoming House Revenue Committee on a 5-4 vote Friday morning.
House Bill 230 now moves on to the full state House. The committee heard an hour of often spirited testimony from both supporters and opponents of the legislation. The bill would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in hiring, promotions, and treatment at work.
Brandon Lopez, a former UW student who recently earned a Master's Degree in Mathematics, told the committee that as a gay man he was concerned about taking a job outside of Laramie even though his skills would be highly valuable to Wyoming mining companies. Lopez also said he knows of many people with valuable job skills and training who refuse to work in Wyoming because of the lack of a law protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination
Rep. Roy Edwards [R-Campbell County], who is not a member of the Revenue Committee, told the committee that he has heard there are 122 different gender identities and added he thinks the bill should list them all if gender identity is to be included in the legislation. Edwards also said he was worried about employees or job applicants filing phony claims if the bill becomes law.
One of the bill's sponsors, Rep. Dan Zwonitzer [R-Laramie County], said: "half of the people in the room probably think this bill doesn't go far enough, while the other half think it goes too far." Past non-discrimination bills in the legislature have also included public accommodations and housing in addition to employment protections.
When the final vote was taken, Reps. Zwonitzer, Connolly, Dayton-Selman, Roscoe, and Sweeney voted for the measure, while Reps. Western, Hallinan, Blackburn and Dan Laursen voted no.
After the final tally was taken, Rep. Sara Burlingame [D-Laramie County], one of the bill's co-sponsors, said she was '"cautiously optimistic" that the full house would approve the measure and send it on to the state Senate.