Legislation I’m Working On
Senate Bill 1150 − Administrative Name Change Reform
This legislation will replace the antiquated judicial name change process in Pennsylvania with a simpler, more streamlined, and largely administrative process. The current process for legally changing one’s name is expensive, time-consuming, and fraught with danger for members of Pennsylvania’s transgender community.
By replacing our current judicial name change process with an administrative one, Pennsylvanians will have a single office and streamlined process to navigate. This new statute would establish separate but similar processes for adult and minor applicants. Court involvement would only be necessary in specific circumstances, for instance: In the event an application cannot be completed for technical reasons, such as the inability to obtain proper identity establishing documents, or in the event of a legitimate objection by a parent who currently has parental rights. All documents created would be automatically sealed to protect the identity of the applicant. Further, this administrative process will not include several problematic, unnecessary, and discriminatory components of our current name change process such as advertising requirements and a bar on convicted felons receiving a name change for two years after their sentence has been served.
Senate Bill 972 − Protecting LGBTQ Students from Discrimination
This legislation was recently introduced to companion legislation to Representatives Benham and Kenyatta’s HB 1878, Protecting LGBTQ Students from Discrimination.
Each year the Educational Improvement and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credits (EITC & OSTC) programs provide for scholarships that help Pennsylvania children afford to go to a school other than their school district of residence. In fact, over 60,000 scholarships were awarded to K-12 students in 2018-2019. Unfortunately, students who are members of the LGBTQ+ community are often denied this financial support because some private schools choose to discriminate against them in the admissions process.
Because of this harmful oversight, we are introducing legislation that will protect LGBTQ+ students from being discriminated against by schools that receive funding through EITC and OSTC. It would do this by requiring that schools which receive funding through these programs have a written policy of nondiscrimination. Regardless of how you might feel about these programs in particular, we hope everyone can agree that any program that spends hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars should be implemented in a nondiscriminatory way.
The status quo of EITC and OSTC will continue to alienate a vulnerable group of students—this is unacceptable and needs to be changed. No student should be forced to hide who they are to receive a scholarship to attend school.
Sen. Williams remarks against book bans (SB 1277 Floor)
PA Legislators Highlight Name Change Legislative Package Intended to Ease Name Change Process for Transgender Pennsylvanians
HARRISBURG – April 11, 2022 – Members of the Pennsylvania House and Senate joined advocates for the LGBTQ and Transgender Community Monday, April 11, 2022, for a press conference to discuss their package of bills to update Pennsylvania’s antiquated name change laws...