Um… what the headline says. Sen. Bill Finkbeiner has confirmed to reporters that he intends to vote for the anti-discrimination bill when it is reintroduced this session.
Last session HB 1515 failed by a single vote, and Finkbeiner’s reversal should assure passage. However, insiders expect at least one to four additional senators to flip now that they can’t be accused of being the deciding vote.
Finkbeiner has released a public statement:
“I want to take this opportunity to let you know that I plan to vote for House Bill 1515 this year.
“There are two strong reasons that have swayed me to support House Bill 1515 for the 2006 state legislative session. First of all, I’ve had a number of conversations over the past year that have led me to more fully understand the level of discrimination against gays and lesbians, and I now find it is both appropriate and necessary for the state to make it clear that this is not acceptable.
“Secondly, I believe that, unfortunately, this issue has become a political football used by both parties. This bill failed year after year, even in years when Democrats have held strong majorities, because it motivates some party activists on both sides. And the issue has become one of many “wedge’ issues used to split our communities and divide us. Real people are affected by this issue: our friends, our co-workers, our family members, our neighbors. I don’t agree with the politicization of people’s personal lives and I think it is time to move on.”
Not that it really matters, but there had been some speculation that state Sen. Dave Schmidt (R-44) would reverse his vote on HB 1515, following Sen. Bill Finkbeiner’s lead. So I thought… why not just ask?
His legislative aide, Becky, promptly replied:
Thank you for your letter David, Senator Schmidt has received it. Historically the 44th legislative district has not supported HB 1515, likewise, Senator Schmidt will not be supporting HB 1515. Initiative 677