But, in spite of the hours cooling their heels and the time put into lobbying-training, the advocates still have no idea whether their actions will help push along House Bill 3247 (HB 3247). The bill in question is in retaliation to the failed Measure 9 and mandates against discrimination in Oregon's public schools based on sexual orientation.
Though the bill's sponsor, Mary Nolan (D-Portland), admits HB 3247 is a response to the Oregon Citizen Alliance, she's also concerned with establishing a general feeling of safety in schools. "What's important to me is that a student should feel safe going to a school in Oregon, that they should not feel that they are vulnerable to intimidation or harassment," said Nolan.
Despite efforts of Nolan and advocates last week, the bill has yet to secure a hearing--the first step towards becoming a reality. Advocates believe that the stalling of their bill is due to an agreement between Speaker of the House Mark Simmons (R-Elgin) and the Senate President Gene Derfler (R-Salem); according to legislature insiders, in the interest of "maintaining a sense of collegiality" the two have decided not to move "controversial bills."
Waiting on the word if and when the bill will progress into a committee, advocates are not yet discouraged. "We just have to wait," says Maura Roche, Government Relations Consultant for gay-advocacy group Basic Rights Oregon.