Remember when local municipalities spend money for equity, it’s YOUR money

May 24 – With Jeremy Samek, senior counsel with the Pennsylvania Family Institute, speaking on Political Vibe this weekend about the local non-discrimination ordinances for the LGBTQ+ community and how they can affect boroughs in terms of money, the discussion was quite enlightening.

The Pa Family Institute follows these kinds of ordinances. It’s what they do for a living, full-time, so they are incredibly keyed-in to results.

Of the 60-plus Pennsylvania municipalities that have implemented these ordinances, there have been zero cases, so it’s more about symbolism than anything else.

Outside of Pennsylvania, there have been local boroughs that in trying to enforce the ordinances have been mired in never-ending litigation that was incredibly costly.

Attorney Clint Barkdoll, Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen discussed the interview this morning on First News.

Barkdoll said, “All of that could have been avoided from square one had they simply allowed these complaints to go up the normal course through their state government human relations agency and or to the federal EEOC. If you’re a local council person or a township supervisor that looks at this, you need to have eyes wide open when you look at those sort of ramifications.”

Ryan added, “You say it costs the borough. When you hear costs the borough, that’s you (listener) my friend. It doesn’t matter if it’s your township. Doesn’t matter if it’s your city. Doesn’t matter if it’s your borough. It’s your money. They (members of council) get paid four or five thousand dollars to make a huge decision here and then their (Borough) lawyers, their facilitators, their friends are going to get a pay day on your back. It’s a money grab, ladies and gentlemen, and it’s a power grab. Watch your borough council members in Chambersburg. Watch your township folks.”

Jansen said, “I’d like to find out who’s going to do the training for the borough council members…on diversity, equity and inclusion. How much is it going to cost (you the taxpayer) and who’s doing it?”

“And that’s my money,” Ryan said. “Alright Sharon? Alright Bill? Alright Dennis? Alright Heath? Alright Barb? Alright Kathy? Alright Alice? That’s my money.”

“For a problem that doesn’t exist,” Jansen said. “Even what they accused Allen of, he did not do. Anyone looking at the evidence that was brought forward would see there absolutely was no racial animosity there at all. In my opinion that’s a lie. Folks, this is that ideology. This is that religion being forced on you with zero evidence except for people’s feelings. Feelings are not evidence of crimes. Feelings are not evidence that laws are being broken. Feelings are not evidence that you need to be re-educated. And that’s what this is all about. We’re going to re-educate all of these borough council members on just how guilty they should feel as white people for all the unconscious crimes they’re committing in their head. This is thought control. This is 1984. Come on!”

Barkdoll said Samek pointed out that zero cases have been filed in Pennsylvania. “We know that there is a very small but vocal group of activists around Pennsylvania that are pushing this before local government. They’re allowed to do that and many municipalities are agreeing to form these boards. However there are also a number of groups such as the group that our guest came from and they are waiting for a case to be filed. They will pounce. The first time one of these cases gets filed, you watch out. There’s going to be these counter-groups, like the one our guest came from. They’re just itching to take one of these things into court. These things quickly find their way into court. They are dubious in the legality, on the authority that these boards have. These interest groups that will then sue to challenge it, that’s not costing any money. Well then it’s you the tax payer, you the borough, you’re the one that’s going to have to pay then to defend it in a county court and in a state level appellate court. And he was pointing out in those other states, sometimes these things have gone on for years and will cost substantial amounts of money.”

In Maryland, some of the civil protections for police officers have been stripped – they took away civil liabilities for police officers. And it’s happening all over the country.

Ryan said, “If this is the stuff you’re going to hoist on us, then let’s peel back the civil responsibilities to borough council members. If you’re going to do this to business owners and churches, then you need to eat it as well here. You’re making some decisions on redundant things here and some accountability (needs to be had). They’re hidden and they’re protected. They hide – the council members and statewide officials. We’ve got to start seeing some of this. I bet they start getting a little more quiet and a little more thoughtful with their decisions when they start being on the hook.”

Barkdoll said, “They would, but the law is very clear that public officials are almost always immune from civil liability as long as they’re making decisions in the scope of their office. Whether that’s a school board member, a borough council member, or a state senator, a state rep, even a federal representative. They are sovereignly immune from liability if they’re making decisions in good faith even if those decisions later lead to civil liability. I like your thinking on it, but unfortunately, courts have routinely said that public officials are immune.”

Jansen asked, “Why then are police not immune? They’re public officials also. They’re public employees also. And that’s the hypocrisy here. Take it away from yourselves if you’re going to take it away from police. You hypocrites in Maryland.”

Remember, these kinds of things could be coming to your backyard sooner than you think.

Jansen said, “If you’re a business person or a pastor and you’re outside of the borough of Chambersburg so you’re thinking that’s not really going to affect me. Oh, no. All the townships around us are getting the same pressure to pass these same ordinances. I’m hearing that the way Chambersburg goes is the way they’re going to go. So, if you’re outside the borough of Chambersburg, this is coming to you, too. Your business. Your church is going to be under the gun here. You may have to spend money to try to defend if somebody makes an accusation against one of your members or your employees. Please, please you need to make your voices heard on this.”