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PNS Daily News - October 16, 2019 


Farmers in DC to discuss trade and the rural economic crisis; also Lily Bohlke reports on the Democratic debate -- from 2020 Talks.

2020Talks - October 16, 2019 


Last night in Ohio the fourth Democratic debate covered issues from health care, gun control and abortion to the Turkish invasion of Syria. What's clear: Sen. Elizabeth Warren has replaced former VP Joe Biden as the centerstage target.

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Bathrooms and Beyond: New MA Transgender Law

Backers of a new Massachusetts law say restroom choice is only the beginning in the state's efforts to fight discrimination in public accommodations. (DodgertonSkillhause/Morguefile)
Backers of a new Massachusetts law say restroom choice is only the beginning in the state's efforts to fight discrimination in public accommodations. (DodgertonSkillhause/Morguefile)
July 11, 2016

BOSTON - It was dubbed the "bathroom bill," but a measure signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker on Friday bans discrimination against transgender people in all public accommodations in the Commonwealth. Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz said in light of the anti-LGBTQ laws being enacted in other states, she believes it was important for the Commonwealth to take action. The new law, which takes effect October 1st, allows transgender people to use restrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity. But Chang-Diaz said it affects all forms of public accommodations.

"Public transportation, the shopping mall, the hairdresser, the grocery store, restaurants, nursing homes, museums," she said. "These places are really the places where our daily lives play out, and therefore are really fundamental to everyday lives of transgender Bay Staters and their loved ones."

The Massachusetts Family Institute opposes the measure, calling it vague and saying it opens the door for predators to enter public restrooms and locker rooms. Back in 2010, Governor Baker also opposed the idea, but said he changed his mind after, in his words, "a lot of dialog" with people on all sides of the issue.

Milford Representative John Fernandes said one key to passing the measure was a compromise that calls on the Attorney General's office to be involved in crafting legal definitions under the law.

"What businesses want is to know and understand the rules of the game, and to know that they and their competitors are playing by the same rules," he said. "And there was an uncertainty on what the definition of 'transgender' meant."

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and Attorney General's office have until September 1st to report their recommendations, regulations or guidance on putting the new law into practice.

The full bill can be read online here.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - MA