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[Updated] Ga. Democrats to take on anti-gay discrimination in state funding for private schools

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Democrats in the Georgia General Assembly rolled out their legislative agenda for 2013 today which includes a bill “to prevent student scholarship organizations from funding private schools that discriminate against Georgia’s children.”

Dubbed the Anti-Discrimination Act, the bill is sponsored by Rep. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta) and Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens), according to Emily Oh, spokesperson for the House Democratic Caucus.

Bell is the first openly lesbian African-American state lawmaker in the country.

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LGBT inclusive hate crimes bill introduced on last day of Ga. legislative session

It was Sine Die at the Gold Dome on Thursday and the day that Rep. Rashad Taylor (D-Atlanta) introduced a hate crimes bill in the House.

Taylor announced at a rally in February he would introduce the bill following the beating of a gay man. Brandon White, in southwest Atlanta by gang members who repeatedly called him "faggot." A video of the beating went viral and made national headlines. Four men have been charged in the beating and a federal investigation continues to determine if the attack is a hate crime.

Taylor said today he was hoping to get Republican sponsors to sign on to the bill that includes sexual orientation and gender identity before introducing it, but because it was an election year several supportive Republicans wanted to wait until January to sign on. Georgia is one of five states that does not have its own hate crimes law.

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Ga. House panel takes no vote on LGBT job bias bill; cameras, videos banned from hearing

Wendell Willard

In a move some legislators say they've never seen before, the media was banned from taking photos and video during a public hearing today at the Georgia General Assembly that included testimony on HB 630, the State Fair Employment Practices Act. The bill, which would ban job discrimination against state employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity, was discussed for a second time by a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee.

No vote was taken on the bill today. It was tabled at a hearing on Feb. 21, but Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Atlanta), who presided over today's subcommittee hearing and is a co-sponsor of the bill, said the legislation remains "alive" in his subcommittee.

"Well, I don't know what happens next at this point. We're just at a point where there's a lot of legislation pending and inability to get it all done prior to crossover day,” Jacobs said.