Allegheny County Council will be voting on an amended version of Councilor Amanda Green's legislation forbidding LGBTQetc discrimination in employment and housing, between 5 and 7 PM at the Allegheny County Courthouse.
Amended version, you say?
Anyway, the ordinance was heard in the Government Relations Committee last week and an amendment offered by County Councilmen Burn, Macy and Robinson added a complicated loophole that will give some religious organizations preferential treatment by allowing them to discriminate.
Essentially, it creates a registry... (PghLesCor 1)
We know our friend Sue the blogger is known to take a harder line than most, but here is the ACLU's response to these developments:
There are a number of problems with Section 215-31(H)(1) of the proposed ordinance. These problems are so endemic that this section should be removed from the ordinance in its entirety. First, the language of this section creates a preference for some religions over others... (PghLesCor 2)
Four (4) problems are identified -- some of which point toward unintended consequences, most of which concern the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
I have thoughts:
1) The ACLU has interest and experience in seeing substantive legislation get passed and progress get made, right? I would not expect them to throw roadblocks in front of a new proposal for just any old reason.
2) I think we all remember the individual who spoke at the public hearing who was born "gender ambiguous", and the real travails of that person finding a job and a place to live. We in the United States do not stand pat on a simple right to life, but also stand upon rights to LIBERTY and THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. Hard to pursue those without a roof over your head, a fair shot at gainful employment, and loving companionship come what may. Remember that not all of Allegheny County is dense with options for homes and jobs if one's nonconformities are abruptly "discovered" by an employer or landlord.
3) Religious and religiously-minded organizations have rights of their own, but once they start employing people, taking part in the regulated economy, accepting public resources ... well, even sorting through the applications for the registry sounds dicey. When it comes to fundamental individual rights, I'm more comfortable Keeping-It-Simple-Stupid.
Looks like this one got a tad over-processed in the old sausage factory. Maybe Democrats should capitalize on their majority and enact their immensely popular stated agenda with less fuss.
Might want to pin this one to the cork board:
A pair of juvenile detention centers at the crux of a bribery scandal in Luzerne County also were charging counties like Allegheny and Butler too much for their services, according to a state audit. (P-G, Karen Kane)
Counties were billed $314 a day for secure treatment and $255 a day for shelter services. Auditors determined the fees could have been $64 and $60 less, respectively. Mr. Zappala contended in his response to the draft audit that the lower numbers do not allow any profit margin. (ibid)
That, together with a few conspicuous expenditures, is what we know before any "extensive" audit is performed. Perhaps this proposed "extensive" audit might even develop into a "comprehensive" one.
Meanwhile, in DeWeeseville:
A state grand jury is poring over the contents of a recently discovered box of files from a Capitol office, a find that has triggered renewed prosecutorial interest in longtime state Rep. Bill DeWeese, D-Greene. (P-G, Roddy and Mauriello)
So what's up?
Sources close to the investigation say the documents appear to suggest widespread campaign activity inside Mr. DeWeese's Harrisburg and district offices during state work hours. (ibid)