Tuesday, May 26, 2009

FW: House Health Committee

From the Capital Beat:

As noted earlier, Republicans are trying to knock down S 526, an anti-bullying bill. The controversy in the bill resides in this paragraph:

Bullying or harassing behavior includes, but is not limited to, acts reasonably perceived as being motivated by any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, socioeconomic status, academic status, gender identity, physical appearance, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, developmental, or sensory disability, or by association with a person who has or is perceived to have one or more of these characteristics.

That has drawn opposition from groups such as the N.C. Christian Action League. The House Education Committee heard the bill today. There was so much pending discussion that the chairman delayed a vote on the bill until at least Thursday. But I did find a couple bits of the meeting useful. An exchange between Rep. Hugh Blackwell, a Burke County Republican, and Rep. Rick Glazier, a Cumberland County Democrat, helped clarify what would constitute bullying versus free speech. Click here to listen to that. Also, Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam laid out his objections to the bill. Click here to listen to those, with a short rebuttal from Sen. Julia Boseman, the bill's sponsor, at the end. At the beginning of that second take, Stam was asking to pass out a PCS - a proposed committee substitute. In legislative land, a PCS is a rewrite of a bill that contains more extensive body work than is appropriate for a mere amendment. The chairman didn't let him make that motion.

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