March 9 – Chambersburg Borough Council voted unanimously to adopt changes to the non-discrimination policies in three documents last night and it’s brought up questions about how far the equality standards may actually go.
The wording was taken from the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and is now in three borough documents including a service manual, a personnel document and a sexual harassment policy document.
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission enforces state laws that prohibit discrimination, including the Pa. Human Relations Act.
Interestingly, some of the work being done by the commission has never actually been voted on by lawmakers, nor has any local entity challenged the wording it sets forth.
Allen Coffman, Councilman from Ward 1, joined Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen on News Talk 103.7FM to discuss the borough council meeting Monday night.
Jansen pointed out, “This is a fairly new commission and it’s a very radical, liberal commission. Legislators have given way too much power to these commissions and committees and bureaucracies that the executive branch has set up.” She urged people to look up Chad Lassister’s angry white men op-ed piece. You can find it here.
Another issue with the Human Relations Commission is marital status.
“It’s going to get to the point where if you even suggest that a married mother and father is ideal, you’ll be accused of a hate crime,” Jansen said. “That’s why they’re putting marital status in these mandates.”
A chilling aspect of all of this is how surreptitiously it’s happening. No lawmakers are involved, the commission that has no real teeth creates these rules and they are slowly getting adopted around the state.
Indeed, the Chambersburg Borough Council voted unanimously to make the changes last night.
“Of course because nobody knows what’s (really) going on on these things,” Ryan said.
“There’s no reason these things should be done at this level because they have no idea,” Jansen added.
Coffman noted that it’s obviously a subject for a longer conversation.
And that could happen. A citizen last night asked why Chambersburg doesn’t look into what Shippensburg has done in creating its own, local Human Relations Committee – that will likely be the ultimate outcome for Chambersburg with this issue.
Coffman questioned, “Would you not agree that the final arbiter on this if anybody raises questions on this would be the court system?”
Ryan said, “We’re going to take an enormous amount of time when we could be spending it on making signs on whoever the pool is going to be named after. We’re going to go through this motion and it’s going to go back to lawyers and go back to courts when it should have been done by the lawmakers (in Harrisburg) in the first place.”
Instead, whatever the commission says, goes.
“The commission gets to dream up these things,” Ryan said. “Borough council doesn’t have any idea. Of course the solicitors are going to bring it to you because that means there’s more work for them later on. There’s a lawyer that’s going to get more work here if somebody decides they’re going to push back on this.”
Chambersburg Council President, Alice Elia, requested the solicitor look into the changes.
“That’s why it’s very important who we elect to these positions,” Jansen said.