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United States:
Bills Pending in States
Throughout the Nation

 
 

 

Wisconsin

This is the only state, other than Vermont, where a comprehensive domestic partnership bill is currently pending. AB 608 is very similar to the bill recently introduced in Vermont (SB 248).

Both the Wisconsin bill and the Vermont bill seem to be patterned after a measure introduced in Hawaii in 1999 (HB 884). All of these bills follow the path of the model bill proposed in the report of the Hawaii Commission on Sexual Orientation and the Law which was issued in December 1995. Wisconsin also has a bill pending (AB 609) which is more limited. That bill would give domestic partner benefits to government employees. Both of the bills pending in Wisconsin are gender-neutral and would apply equally to same-sex and heterosexual unmarried couples who meet the eligibility criteria.


Washington:

HB 2037 deals with state employment benefits. It is gender neutral and open to all unmarried couples regardless of sexual orientation.


Rhode Island

HB 5619 would give benefits to domestic partners of state employees. It applies to same and opposite-sex couples alike.


New York

This state has five bills pending. AB 7463 would amend the election law to treat domestic partners the same as spouses and other close family members. SB 2670 would allow a surviving dp to use his or her deceased partner's sick leave if the deceased partner is a state civil servant. SB 2745 establishes priority for the designation of persons who may control the disposition of remains of a deceased person. SB 3273 would create a state registry, prohibit discrimination against dp's in employment, housing, and business transactions, and require insurance companies to offer coverage to dp's just as they offer coverage to spouses. AB 6286 is the same as SB 3273. All of these bills apply equally to same-sex and opposite-sex domestic partners.


New Hampshire

HB 1567 would give benefits to the domestic partners of public employees. It is gender neutral and applies to same and opposite-sex domestic partners.


Massachusetts

This state has five bills pending. Only one (HB 308) is limited to same-sex couples. The rest are gender neutral. HB 3377 relates to equal employment benefits for public service employees. SB 2044 covers the same topic, but has been merged into SB 2048. SB 2048 has passed the Senate and is pending in the House. HB 4947 is limited to authorizing the town of Amherst to give dp benefits to its employees.


Florida

There are two bills pending in this state. Both are identical. SB 686 and HB 29 would create a state registry for domestic partners, entitle them to hospital visitation rights, and require health insurance companies to offer dp coverage on the same terms as they offer spousal coverage. The definition of dp in these bills is broader than usual in that it does not contain a blood-relative exclusion. Any two unmarried adults who meet the criteria are included in the bills. By not excluding blood relatives, the bills remove any presumption that domestic partnership is a sexual relationship. It may be or it may not be, depending on the circumstances. The definition is similar to SB 118 in California.


California

There are three bills pending in California. AB 901 would remove state income tax on dp employment benefits, just as they are not taxable for spouses. SB 118, which has passed the Senate and is pending in the Assembly, would grant extended family leave rights to domestic partners, just as they are granted now for other close family relationships.

SB 1050 would amend the statutory will form to provide a place for domestic partners and would amend procedural law in conservatorship proceedings to give dp's notice, a right to participate, and priority to be named a conservator. The definition in all three bills is different. SB 118 is super-inclusive (open to same sex and opposite-sex couples as well as unmarried blood relatives) and as a result is actually being supported by the California Catholic Conference (the association of bishops in the state). They can support this dp bill because the definition does not assume that dp's are in a sexual relationship. AB 901 is gender neutral and applies to same and opposite sex couples alike. SB 1050 tracks the definition of the new state registry which is open to same-sex couples over the age of 18 and to heterosexual couples over the age of 62. This definition is rather strange since it excludes unmarried opposite-sex couples between the ages of 18 and 62, it is inconsistent with the state Legislature's own benefits program (which is gender neutral) and is inconsistent with all local government programs in the state (which are gender neutral).

 

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