Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fiscal notes out on bills of concern to GLBT community

The Fiscal Review Committee has been busy releasing the fiscal notes on some important bills to the GLBT community this session.

The adoption ban bill has a fiscal note of just over $2.8 Million for the State and $2.16 Million for the federal government. This figure is down from last year's $4.5 Million for the state, though the federal impact is roughly the same.

The good news is that the hate crimes bill that would add gender identity as a sentencing enhancement factor has a fiscal impact described as "Not Significant." During meetings with legislators who were sympathetic to the bill, we heard that there probably would be a significant fiscal note which would prevent its advancement. At least that obstacle is out of the way.

Both bills will have a difficult road to passage. The fiscal note on the adoption ban bill is still significant, especially considering the state's budget climate. Most important, though, is the fact that the estimate was determined based on the percentage of adoptive parents and children that would be affected. Lengthening the time a child is in the State's custody should give every lawmaker pause. Passing the hate crimes bill will be difficult because of lack of awareness of the dangers transgender persons face and because of ideological opposition. But the absence of a discernible cost should pave the way for a few more allies to give their support.

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