(1) The Liberty City Democrats’ scorecard includes 6 and 5 bills for the Pennsylvania State House and Pennsylvania State Senate respectively, from Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks, and Chester Counties:
HB 300 – LGBT Non Discrimination Bill
HB 156 – Anti-Bullying Bill
HB 1686 – Marriage Equality Act
HB 1647 – Repeal of PA Defense of Marriage Act
Hb 1811 – Conversion Therapy Ban
HB 177 – Hate Crimes Ban
SB 300 – LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill
SB 719 – Marriage Equality Act
SB 872 – Conversion Therapy Ban
SB 42 – Hate Crimes Statute
SB 1064 – Reform of Name Change Process
(2) The scorecard measures the willingness of state senators and state representatives to just cosponsor a particular bill. As it stands, none of these bills has come up for a vote, due to the conservative nature of the Pennsylvania state legislature. Legislative procedure allows for legislators to force a vote through a discharge resolution, but if this measure fails, legislators are barred from proposing the legislation through a bill for an amendment to any other bill for an entire legislative session, so it is incredibly risky.
(3) Only 9 state representatives and only 3 state senators have a 100% score:
House: Ed Neilson (D – 169), Kevin Boyle (D – 172), Mike O’Brien (D – 175), Michelle Brownlee (D – 195), Cherelle Parker (D – 200), Stephen Kinsey (D – 201), Mark Cohen (D – 202), Mark Painter (D – 146), Steve McCarter (D – 154)
Senate: Larry Farnese (D -1), Michael Stack (D – 5), Daylin Leach (D – 17)
(Shockingly, State Representative Brian Sims, the only openly gay legislator measured in this scorecard, is not one of the few with a perfect record. He has an 83% score. Without a primary opponent in his Philadelphia election, as of this morning, that probably is not of political concern to him.)
(4) 75% of those with a perfect score represent Philadelphia. LGBT activists and allies have made great strides out in the suburban counties, but there still is a long way to go to elect stellar allies and advocates to the rest of the Southeastern Pennsylvania region.
(5) In the State House, Representative John Taylor, who represents Philadelphia’s 177th District, deserves a hat tip for holding a 50% score as a Republican public official. Here are the House Democrats his score beats:
John Sabatina (D – 174), Angel Cruz (D – 180), Bill Keller (D – 184), Ron Waters (D – 191), Pam DeLissio (D – 194), JP Miranda (D – 197), Dwight Evans (D – 203), Thaddeus Kirkland (D – 159), Margo Davidson (D – 164), Greg Vitali (D – 166), and John Galloway (D – 140).
(6) In the State House and State Senate for this region, there are no 0% votes in Philadelphia, meaning that every legislator, regardless of party affiliation, has cosponsored at least one bill. In Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks, and Chester Counties, there are nine state representatives and six state senators with a 0% score. This is actually not as bad as it sounds, but of course any lost ground in Southeastern Pennsylvania greatly reduces the likelihood that LGBT legislation will come up for a successful vote. That being said, here is a list of those with a goose egg score, just in case you want to throw them out of office:
House: Joe Hackett (R – 161), William Adolph (R – 165), John Lawrence (D – 13), Duane Milne (D – 167), Bernie O’Neill (R – 29), Frank Farry (R – 142), Paul Clymer (R – 145), Robert Godshall (R – 53), Marcy Toepel (R – 147)
Senate: Dominic Pileggi (R – 9), Edwin Erickson (R – 26), John Rafferty (R – 44), Robert Tomlinson (R – 6), Stewart Greenleaf (R – 12), Bob Mensch (R – 24)
(7) In the State House and State Senate for this region, there are no Democrats with a 0% score, as you may have noticed. That was not always the case. For an extended period of time, Representative Margo Davidson (D – 164), had refused to cosponsor a single piece of legislation supporting LGBT rights. I know this to be true because I had numerous conversations with her myself as a constituent, in which she cited “religious freedom” as a reason not to cosponsor the bill, but also insinuating that she’d vote for it if it ever came up for a vote. (Really confusing, to say the least!) After great advocacy from the Liberty City Democrats, many calls from constituents, and my local op/ed to boot, Representative Davidson finally caved, co-sponsoring HB 300, the non-discrimination legislation that has an impact on employment, housing, and benefits from the state government. That is the only legislation she has cosponsored to date, and she is currently facing primary challengers Dafan Zhang and Billy Smith in the May primary.
If this article depresses you, that was not its intended effect. Hopefully this information can empower you as you interact with your state representative and state senator. When next year’s Liberty City Democrats scorecard comes out, we’ll write a comparison piece, to see where we’ve made progress. Thanks Liberty City Dems for creating this scorecard. Everyone, check it out HERE.