Friday, January 23, 2009

Wrongful Death, SB32

Yesterday I wrote "If I could get close enough to the men in power I'd be begging." Yesterday, that's what I did.

Though I did not talk to those LDS church leaders weighing in on law, of course :-). I've no right to speak to those leaders, but lawmakers are another matter, and so I phone banked with Equality Utah yesterday, calling those on the committees that will be hearing SB 32, Wrongful Deaths Amendments.

You can read the bill here.

In short, it would let Rob sue my killer for compensation if, say, I was killed by a drunk driver, something he could only do if he were a legal spouse. As with all the common ground bills, it applies not only to same-sex couples; a dependent nephew could be given grounds for compensation, for example.

To me this bit of equal protection for my family would mean some peace of mind, to know Rob, our main homemaker, could have some recourse to be compensated for my death, if I were killed on my way home from work. Our loss of companionship and support, both emotional and material, is every bit as horrible as the average person's loss and the law should respond with that in consideration when someone acts to take our life, as it would for any other family. We're human too.

I'd like to think, "How could anyone argue?", but they will. Last night, I got the answering machine of almost every lawmaker I called and I left a lot of messages. But, when I did get a person on the line, I heard some resistance. We'll see.

Please though, this bill may be voted on in committee Monday or Tuesday. Call your senator if they are in the committee:

Gov’t Oper. & Political Subdivisions
Peter Knudson, Chair
Greg Bell
Jon Greiner
Scott Jenkins
Dan Liljenquist
Scott McCoy
Luz Robles

Well, you probably don't need to call McCoy... he's the sponsor. You can find their contact info here.

All we need to do for now is express support of SB32 (I'll try to find the IDs for the other bills as they come in). You should probably point out that the bill doesn't only help gay couples; helping gay citizens isn't often seen as a plus here :-). Also, point out the bill should decrease reliance on government welfare and transfer the costs of supporting a homemaker who's breadwinner has been killed on to the killer instead of the taxpayer.

Call your state senator or representative on SB32 and the other "common ground" bills anyway, even if they are not in this committee. Call them on any bill that interests you. With the number of them, I'm sure there are some on which you would want to be heard.

They are your representatives, your voice on what becomes law; they should hear you.


Edgy said...

Thank you for taking time from your schedule to phone bank. I appreciate it.

When it comes to issues for our families, I feel bad about the "call your reps" bit, because mine are McCoy (he lives around the corner) and Biskupski. I don't usually have to call them to ask them to support this legislation since they're the ones introducing it.

Anonymous said...

SB 32 will go to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee members are:
Chris Buttars, Chair
Jon Greiner
Lyle Hillyard
Mark Madsen
Michael Waddoups
Scott McCoy
Ross Romero.

Kengo Biddles said...

I can see two reasons in that list why the bill stands a snowball's chance in hell of passing, Anonymous.

Sorry, Scot.

Scot said...


Thanks. I knew we were calling two committees but I only had the one on my list.

Edgy: Hey, I've got my selfish motivations in my home ;-).

"When it comes to issues for our families, I feel bad about the "call your reps" bit, because mine are McCoy (he lives around the corner) and Biskupski."

At the EU phone banks they need folks to call other reps (something that's kosher as a EU volunteer it seems), and to call people in those districts to get them to call. They also give you pizza.

Kengo: "Sorry, Scot."

No. Not yet. I'll keep hitting my head against this wall until we move to a place with fewer walls or we break through :-). Even those legislators deaf to us should see the lips of their constituents moving on this.

Tony said...

To be clear: unless someone made a mistake last night or something changed; it's important to contact both the committees.

Scot said...

Great point, Tony! And welcome ;-)