Legislation to ban discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity has a new sponsor in the House and companion bill in the Senate.
Former Rep. Beth Kerttula, a Juneau lawmaker who resigned Friday, introduced House Bill 139 during the 2013 session after a similar bill she introduced in 2011 never received a committee hearing. Kerttula announced her resignation Jan. 21, the first day of the 2014 session.
Rep. Andy Josephson, D-Anchorage, has taken on sponsoring Kerttula’s bill.
“There is just no room for discrimination against our fellow Alaskans,” Josephson said in a statement “I’m honored to take up this legislation to continue Alaska’s long history of standing up for privacy and individual rights.”
Sen. Berta Gardner, D-Anchorage, introduced companion legislation, Senate Bill 131, in the Senate.
“I am committed to removing barriers and discrimination so people can live their lives and be measured on their merits and their contributions, rather than on whom they love,” Gardner said in a statement.
If both bills pass, state anti-discrimination laws would be expanded to protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, financing or credit decisions.
Anchorage voters failed to pass a similar anti-discrimination initiative last April. The State of Alaska and the University of Alaska have both implemented anti-discrimination policies to protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation.