Equality Illinois is making the unusual move to endorse a candidate for the city treasurer’s office. The gay-rights advocacy group has long endorsed in legislative and mayoral races. This time, it’s getting involved in the treasurer contest because of “concerns about a candidate’s commitment to the LGBTQ community,” Brian Johnson, the group’s CEO, told POLITICO.
He was referring to state Rep. Melissa Conyears-Ervin, one of four candidates running for treasurer. Equality Illinois, which tracks voting records, says Conyears-Ervin hasn’t taken a stand on two particular pieces of legislation.
On HB1875, the birth certificate-sex designation bill (which allows trans folks to change their gender on their birth records without having surgery), Conyears-Ervin was the only lawmaker to vote present (instead of yea or nay). And Equality Illinois says Conyears-Ervin hasn’t committed to SB3249, which would add LGBTQ issues in school history books. That bill was just placed on the calendar for a second reading.
Conyears-Ervin, who this week was endorsed by SEIU 73 and Chicago Teachers Union, responded to POLITICO about Equality Illinois’ concerns. In an email sent through a spokesman, she wrote:
“My record on issues of fairness and equality is second to none and I will continue to work with anyone promoting these causes. I support teaching LGBTQ history in schools and I will work with my colleagues to achieve this measure as it comes up for consideration and a vote in the General Assembly. Finally, I did not oppose legislation changing the criteria medical professionals require to change the gender on a person’s birth certificate, and in hindsight recognize the value of a law that relieves the burden put on transgender men and women to be recognized by the state as the gender that they identify. I support this law.”
The bill number in the story is wrong, it’s HB1785. She did indeed vote “Present.” SB3249 passed the Senate with 34 votes.
* But I went to Equality Illinois’ website to check on her other votes. From the group’s 2017 legislative agenda…
* HB1785: Voted “Present”
* SB1761: Voted “Yes”
* SB1670: Voted “Yes”
* And here’s the group’s 2018 agenda and her voting record…
* SJRCA4: Voted “Yes”
* HB5544: Excused absence but she co-sponsored the bill
* HB4469: Excused absence
* HB4572: Voted “Yes”
* HB4281: No vote taken by General Assembly
* HB5191: No vote taken by General Assembly