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House | March 4, 2015 | Chamber | Judiciary

Full MP3 Audio File

[background chatter and laughter] I would like to welcome everyone to Judiciary 1. We have a nice crowd of people here today. A lot of television people are here, we’re awfully glad to have them. Everybody fix their tie so they look good. We, our first bill is gonna be Senate Bill 2 and today when we decided to hear this bill there’s a number of people that called the office and wanted to speak and so today we’re not gonna have a vote but we’re gonna have public input from those who have asked to speak, and I’ve got a list of eight names from those who would like to speak, but before we do that though, I would like to introduce Senator Newton who is the sponsor of the bill. He is my senator. He lives in Wilson. He’s an outstanding legislator and he will explain the bill [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Chairman Doughtry. I appreciate the opportunity to be back here again for a House J Committee and so the new name, J1, I’ll get used to it eventually and I’m sure everyone else will too. I appreciate being here. And so this bill had quite a bit of discussion and commentary and vetting in the Senate side. We had a long committee hearing on the bill and a very long debate, and I’m sure folks have read a lot in the media about what this bill supposedly does or what it doesn’t do and so forth, so I appreciate the opportunity to be here today to speak with you about it. I’d first like to say that the genesis of this bill is really not what is so many folks perceive it to be. The genesis of this bill really came out of a situation with the administrative office of the courts sending forth guidance to the magistrates and courts personnel about how to deal with the change that has been brought before us from the federal courts regarding Amendment 1 and how would the court personnel go on and deal with it. Unfortunately that letter back in October cast it in a way that essentially put a lot of folks in the magistrate’s offices and the register deed’s offices that have religious objections to performing same sex marriage in a very difficult position of having to chose between their sincerely held religious beliefs, in essence religious freedom, and what they were being in essence threatened with by the AOC which the letter included the threat of possible criminal prosecution if they didn’t perform. Senator Berger and others in the Senate, and I’m not sure if there were people in the House but there may have been, but in the Senate there were a number of folks that sent a letter to the Director, John Smith, and asked him to revise this letter that what was required of the state was an effort to accommodate the religious freedom of employees of the magistrates and register of deeds offices and we had a lot of debate on the Senate floor about that, but I don’t think there’s really as much legal controversy as some would let on about this requirement. The folks, employers are required to make an effort to accommodate folks’ sincere religious belief and that includes the free exercise of their religious beliefs, which also includes if I may, their clearly not being forced to do something that they have sincere objection to, so really this was a failure of common sense in my view of how to deal with it. There were a number of counties that had been able to internally work out their systems for those folks who felt they just could not participate in this

to do things like work the graveyard shift when there wouldn't be requests for civil ceremonies and things of that sort but this letter did none of that. This letter said, essentially, you will comply, you will do it whether you like it or not. And many of us felt that that was the wrong way to go. So this bill essentially lays out the framework no which we're going to balance the religious freedom for employees of the court system versus the requirement that we serve all of our citizens and that we comply with lawful court orders regarding the new definition of marriage that the courts have discovered. So essentially what this bill does is it sets out the framework for, in particular let's use magistrates as an example, if a magistrate has an objection, that it's their sincere religious belief that they can't participate in a marriage of some kind that they have the right to recuse themself but they don't get to pick and choose. They recuse themself from doing all marriages. So you're not going to have a magistrate who will do it for one couple but won't do it for another couple. That's prohibited under this bill. Essentially this bill ensures that all couples that seek to be married in a civil ceremony are going to be treated exactly the same way. It also sets out for the first time the minimum amount of time that a magistrates office will have to be available to perform civil ceremonies. So there's been some confusion about what magistrates may be required to do versus other folks. Ultimately, if all, hypothetically if all the magistrates in a certain county were to recuse themselves, the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that all marriages are done falls upon the chief district court judge. Legally that is very sound because elected officials are not immune from the requirement that they may have to do things that they have an objection for. In other words, there's not an exception for them under Title 7, by definition. So, in essence, I may have rambled on here, Mr. Chairman, for a while, but in essence what this does is it preserves religious freedom for those who would object to participating in certain kinds of marriage ceremonies. It gives them a common sense way to recuse themselves and withdraw and at the same time preserves the right of all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, to be able to expect service from the state of North Carolina and ensures that the state of North Carolina is in compliance with lawful court orders. We talked a lot about the magistrates, essentially it is the same process for the employees of the registered deeds office and, with that, I'd be happy to answer questions from the committee and if there are none or in short order I do have another appointment that I backed off to be here today but I appreciate the opportunity to explain the bill. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any questions from the committee to Senator Newton? Representative Hall. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I had a little confusion, I thought we were here on another bill this morning but I understand it got rescheduled. I wanted to ask a question about, Senator Newton, about the financial impact of this. How is the, if a magistrate decides to not do his sworn duty and he takes himself out of the ability to do that for a six month period, is his pay then adjusted for his inability or refusal to do his sworn duty for that period of time and are the other members who would be on the staff that have to take up those duties, are they additionally compensated? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, thank you, thank you Representative Hall. So I would first take issue with

you're with you characterization of refusal to do sworn duty that is improper in my view of how to describe what it is for. What I would say is refusal to basically concede their sincerely religious beliefs and concede to orders from an administrator in Raleigh and not bend to the will of being threatened with prosecution that's how I would describe it. It's a question of religious freedom and as you know and I'm sure you're well aware and everybody in this room is well aware the first amendment has been with us since the creation of the republic and our own article one section thirteen of our own constitution is very clear about matters of conscience and religious belief in our state. So, the task falls to us to balance these things. To answer you question specifically the information that we have received from physical staff is that there's no anticipated cost what so ever. There still are magistrates and there still is a chief district court judge and all of those people are still employed and there will be civil ceremonies regardless of whether one does it or not. And as you know I'm sure there are many, many, many duties that magistrates perform. Civil ceremonies is actually a tiny portion of they perform. So honestly the ability to adjust on or two magistrates in an office and have someone else do this very small minimal part of their job really should not bring any cost to the state at all. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative McNeil. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Actually I don't have a question of senator Newton but I would like to take off on that last question. And make somebody explain this to me. I'm not a lawyer but I did some research on this and where the magistrates and seven eight two ninety two it says that it's additional powers on the magistrate. And if you go down and look in that section it talks about it. Well now, we've heard duty, I'm not a lawyer but I know the word duty and the word power are two different words. So is it a magistrates duty or is it one of it's powers? I know as a sworn law enforcement officer I took an oath of office to uphold the law. But I had a lot of digression in my job. I didn't have to write everybody I saw speeding a ticket. So did I neglect my duty as a law enforcement officer? And back to his point about the constitution, I just think there are a lot of grey areas here. I think it's a great bill, I think it fixes the problem. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, Mr. Chairman can I respond? I'll just get with you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chair, I know you've got members of the public here that I think want to speak. I've got plenty of questions on this bill and I'm quite happy to hold them off until a future opportunity the Chair wanted to open it up to the public as you see fit. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any more questions of senator Newton? If not we'll hear from the public. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chair apologies just to confirm, is it your intent that we have a future opportunity to question the bills sponsor? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Absolutely. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] If I may Mr. Chairman, I'll be happy to answer your questions privately or publicly any time you wish representative Martin. I'll enjoy the conversation always. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think senator Newton has got to leave. But we'll have another opportunity down the road to answer more questions. As I mentioned earlier were are a number of calls regarding and opportunity to speak. And the first person who's name is on the list is Lorraine Lungran. If you'd come up here please. The time limit is three minutes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good afternoon. I am the reverend Lorraine Lungran an Episcopal priest serving a congregation here in the capital city. I happen to be married to an Episcopal priest. Also represent my bishop the right reverend Michael B. Curry who could not be present with us today. I believe senate bill two sets us off on a slope far more slippery than the I540 and

...park way overfly ?? on Sunday. Whenever we obliquely or overtly ?? discrimination in our laws we violate the duty of government in this land to protect equally the rights of individuals across the spectrum of persons living within our bounds. I urge this bill not become law in North Carolina because first, government officials take an oath to impartially and faithfully discharge the powers of their office or duties, depending on the interpretation. Basing on an individual's religious beliefs the denial of, or limitations of services offered by our government does not to me uphold that oath. Second, Senate Bill 2 stands to violate my sincerely held religious beliefs in that I believe all persons are created in the image and likeness of God and thereby deserve the access, support and protection of their governmental representatives at all levels. That means couples legally entitled to a marriage license or to ask a magistrate to officiate at their marriage, need to be granted their rights during all regular business hours. If this bill was in effect when I sought to be married, I might have been denied a license because someone's religious beliefs may not have adhered to the fact that women can be ordained or that they would not think that a clergy couple should be married to one another. Third, marriage is a civil right, holy matrimony is the is the ?? of safe communities. Each of which currently holds the freedom to administer that sacrament in accordance to their traditions. Clergy are not currently compelled to officiate any couple's marriage whether they be straight or gay. I believe defeat of senate bill 2 best supports the common good of the people and officials of North Carolina. Thank you. [speaker changes] Next name on the list is Sarah Preston A.C.L.U. [speaker changes] Mr. Chairman, while she's approaching just a quick administrative question. We are having the people that are testifying to come to the front so we can make sure we hear them and we can see them for media convenience, is that what we are trying to do? [speaker changes] For the media, the media asked for them to come up here [speaker changes] Sure. [speaker changes] I'm just trying to accomodate them [speaker changes] Yes sir. [speaker changes] Thank you. Good afternoon, my name is Sarah Preston. I'm the Policy Director for the A.C.L.U. of North Carolina. As an organization committed to protecting both the religious liberty of all people, as well as the equal rights of gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual individuals, the A.C.L.U. is deeply troubled by Senate bill 2. It should not be the policy of the general assembly to allow governenment officials to pick and choose which job duties they wish to perform. It is a fundamental missunderstanding of civil marriage to perform. It is a fundamental missunderstanding of civil marriage that magistrates perform that has led to introduction of this bill. As Judge Perry ?? a former magistrate explained in a recently in ??, any magistrate who resignes over religious objections to performing same sex marriages is confusing a magistrates responsibility to conduct civil marriages with a member of the clergy's ability to sanctify a marriage. Magistrate do not sanctify marriages and they never have. They perform civil ceremonies and shouldn't have the ability to deny that service to anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, race or religion. The U.S. Consitition protects the free excercise of religion and ensures that no clergy member would ever be forced to sanctify a marriage with which they disagree. Under the law, no church can be compelled to perform that falls outside of their faith traditions. But government is different. Public officials should treat everyone equally under the law and a magistrates oath demands it. If the legislature passes this bill allowing magistrates to refuse to do a job duty and uphold their oath, what is the next category of government official that will refuse to do part of their job, and what job responsibility will it be. It has been almost 40 years since 2 foresythe County magistrates refused to perform a civil marriage for Carol Anne and Thomas Person. Because they had religious objection to marrying a white woman and..

American man. The persons were recently profiled in high point enterprise where Caroll Ann described hearing about magistrates refusing to marry gay and lesbian couples saying, I feel like it’s the same thing. Whether you are gay or interracial, a Jew or a gentile, magistrates have no right to decide who you marry. North Carolina has moved past this era of allowing government officials to use religion, or religious freedom as an excuse to deny government services to otherwise qualified residents, or impose a government official’s beliefs on somebody else, and Senate bill 2 would return us to those days. We would respectfully ask this committee to reject this bill. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Reverend Terrence Leathers. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good afternoon everyone. I’ve got it, thank you chairman. My name is Dr. Terrence Leathers, and I have the privilege to serve as pastor of Mount Vernon Christian Church in that small bedroom community known as Clayton, North Carolina. I raise my, I raise my voice today because I stand in opposition of Senate bill 2. In my opinion, any bill that allows government officials to opt out of their duty in providing the LGBTQ community their legal right to marry is unwarranted and discriminatory in nature. First, government officials swear an oath to faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of their office. When public officials seek to deny services to tax paying citizens based on their religious beliefs, they are not living up to their oath, and they are not serving the common good. Second, in America we believe that the government should treat everyone equally under the law, and not discriminate. Government officials who have sworn an oath to serve the public shouldn’t be able to pick and choose who they are going to serve based on their religious beliefs. Third, gay people are our sons. They’re our daughters, sisters, brothers, parents, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. They work hard serving the military and pay taxes. When they walk into the government office, they should be treated like anyone else and not be discriminated against. And lastly, let me say that I can understand the reluctance of some who may not want to perform a civil marriage. In all honestly, there’s some reluctance and unreadiness in the very core of who I am. This is a journey for me. However, I know that houses of worship and clergy have the constitutional and protective freedom to determine which marriages they will and won’t perform in their faith traditions. No church could be forced to perform a marriage that goes against its religious beliefs, however you are the government, and you must care for and address the personhood rights of all people that live and work here in North Carolina. You may agonize over it and even dislike it personally, but as a government official, do the right thing. Do not pass this bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Next speaker is Chris Sgro. Is that right? How do you pronounce your last name? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Sgro. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Sgro. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good afternoon. I’m Chris Sgro. I’m the executive director of Equality North Carolina, North Carolina’s LGBT rights and advocacy organization representing over 250,000 LGBT North Carolinians. I’ll be brief. I’m here today to talk about the real harms presented by Senate bill 2 to my community and to the state. SB 2 is not about religious freedom. It is not a compromise that strikes an appropriate balance. It is a, it is a problematic piece of legislation that puts the state on a slippery slope where public officials can opt out of providing which essential services they provide. SB 2 is not about whether you support it or support now same sex marriage. This is about whether you believe taxpayer funded public employees can choose which parts of their job they will or will not do. Magistrates are the only people who can conduct civil marriages in the state of North Carolina. Now, I am a Roman Catholic, and I know that my home parish priest will not officiate my marriage, and he should not have to, as it would violate his faith tradition, and the marriage equality ruling that happened in October did nothing to change that. We’re talking about civil servants in a civil matter. We cannot set the precedent that

This bill creates to allow public employees to pick and choose the parts of the job, of their job that they will do. This bill is not a solution. It is a problem and it creates a bad precedent, and that's why a High Point University poll this week found that a polarity of North Carolinians opposed this and other similar legislation. Please do not support SB 2. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Jeff Thigpen. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you mister chair, members of the committee. I'm Jeff Thigpen, the Guilford County register of deeds. I'm here today more as a county department director and a manager than anything else. I'm also an elected official and a former county commissioner. Some areas that I have concerned about related to this bill particularly has to do with my daily operations. For example, over the past 12 months, my office has done 3,600 marriage licenses, 265 of which have been same sex marriages. We also do other duties in terms of 6,100 marriage copies, 2,600 birth, certified birth copies. We do 66,000 real estate transactions in a year. Since the great recession, my office has gone from 33 full time and 3 part time staffers to 25. If this bill were passed as it were currently written, will I have two members of my staff that would ask for religious recusal? Would I have five? Would I have seven? And also, the way the bill is written, the employee puts the register on notice as regards to their religious objection. They're given full power without question to state the religious objection and immediately be exempted, not just from a marriage license they disagree with, but from all marriage license, and as you will see, I just said we did 30, we did 60, 3,600 marriage licenses. 265 of those were same sex couples. So this is a bill that when you talk about the pragmatics of it, it puts me in a significant disadvantage in terms of staffing. The sincerely held religious objection is not at all defined. If a Catholic employee discovers that an applicant is applying for a second marriage, can they object? There's no due diligence here. The bill doesn't give local elected officials any flexibility to determine for example with their county attorneys whether or not there are significant practical burdens that may happen and or whether the religious objection is clear and defensible. Okay, thank you. If I need additional staffing, I would have to go to my county commissioners to get an additional staff member. If they approved it, I'd have to interview that staff person, or the potential applicant. Can I ask them whether or not they would religiously recuse themselves from issuing a marriage license when based on the short staffing I may end up having because of this issue, they were religiously recused from in the first place. So I'm trying to fix a problem that might actually continually be a problem. There's been no formal discussion on this in my association. Our legislative coach here is here today, Wayne Rash who's a wonderful register out of Caldwell county. I think it would behoove the committee to slow down a little bit and look at how and what the practical implications of this bill may be not on urban counties, but also rural counties as well who have small staff members who may be recused and not be able to provide the services they need for their citizens. That's a major concern that we've got to work through, where the rubber meets the road. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Reverend Mark Creech. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mister chairman, members of the committee, I'm Reverend Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. The Christian Action League wishes to express its appreciation for what we believe to be very critical legislation. Sometimes it's hard to believe that we have arrived at a time when such proposed legislation would be needed in our state, but nonetheless here we are. One of the prominent opponents of this measure has argued, and I quote, it goes without saying that the first amendment already protects their religious freedom. No one can tell any North Carolina magistrate or any other public official what they can or cannot believe, but if they want to be magistrates in North Carolina, they cannot stop doing their jobs simply because they don't want to follow the law

That exists, but such statements I suggest fail to fully recognize the purpose of the free exercise clause of our cherished first ammendment, the freedom to practice one’s religion. It doesn’t simply mean that one can believe whatever religious tenets he wishes in the solitude of his own home or in the privacy of his religious organization’s established place of worship, but it means that one can practice freely the teachings of their faith in public, in the public square, without the authorization or endorsement of the state or fear of reprisal. Signor of the constitution William Livingston said, “Consciences of men are not the objects of human legislation. How beautiful appears our expansive constitution in disclaiming all jurisdiction over the souls of men and securing by a never to be repealed section the voluntary unchecked moral suasion of every individual. Our tradition is always been not to interfere with the practice of religion and if there is a law that perhaps is deemed necessary to interfere, then the state is to use the least restrictive means possible for achieving a compelling state interest and if an exemption would avoid that religious interference then it should be granted.” Senate Bill 2, the legislation that is before you, represents, I suggest, the best of what we’ve always believed in North Carolina and what we’ve believed as a nation concerning the freedom to practice one’s faith, and may I say in response to Mr. President’s remark that somehow that there’s some confusion here about performing a civil ceremony or sanctifying the marriage let me just say that some of these magistrates and registers of deeds are concerned that they would be forced to perform what they believe is not a marriage. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Tony Coch. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Three minutes? Okay. I have two teenage daughters. I never give them three minutes. My name’s Tony Coch. I’m a small business owner. I’m rarely given the chance to talk about what it means to run a small business, to give that perspective out. [SPEAKER CHANGES] [??] [SPEAKER CHANGES] Talk a little louder. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay, sorry. All right. My name’s Tony Coch. I’m a small business owner. I want to get the business perspective on this that I see out. I have a production company, a media production company. I’ve had it for 22 years. I have 20 employees now in Raleigh, I also have 15 in Vancouver now and we’re getting ready to open up in New York City and it’s exciting times. We’re growing by leaps and bounds, but the stress of that is to try to find really nationally qualified, talented people to work with me, to embed in my team, and to specifically see how this bill and others like it, it creates a, what others tell me is a hostile environment to people they care about, to themselves, people they love, in North Carolina. The New York Office is specifically designed because I can’t get people to come here to work for me. I have one person who’s a remarkable talent in New York City. He really is one of the key people for the next bit of growth in our company. He’s been in the city a while. He’s been married to his wife for 6-7 years. I think they’re ready to have kids. I can offer them so much here, right? He wants a yard and a minivan and I can give him that. I can show him such a great place here, quality schools, safe environments for the kids, and the one reason he won’t move here is specifically because of what he perceives as a hostile environment in North Carolina, not to him, I think his brother’s gay, many of his friends are gay, that’s the one thing that keeps him from coming to North Carolina. Another point in running a small business is obviously I’ve gotta go make money. I’ve gotta close deals. I spend most of my time up in New York, Boston, Vancouver, the West Coast, and what is done in North Carolina is directly associated with me when I go into these meetings

and very specific point one of my clients up in Armonk, top fortune one hundred company has a million and a half dollars in my revenue every year in his pocket. He's gay. I have to fight that every time some sort of bill some sort of legislation rumors come out that seem to create a hostile environment here that's associated to me that makes those bills difficult. I want to expand I want to grow, I want to keep it here because this is the state I love this is where I grew up I am North Carolinian by birth. These sort of things work against us everyday. And I'm asking you not to vote for this bill simply because I just want to do my business I want to grow and it stops with this sort of thing, thanks. [SPEAKER CHANGES] John Rustin. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman members of the committee I'm John Rustin president of the North Carolina family policy council. I'd like to begin my remarks by reading to you a provision from the United States Constitution and the North Carolina Constitution. Amendment one of the United States Constitution says Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Article one section thirteen of the North Carolina Constitution says all persons have a natural and inalienable right to worship all might god according to the dictates of their own conscience and no human authority shall in any case whatever control or interfere with the right of conscience. Senate bill two is a very reasonable balanced approach to dealing with a very specific circumstance that we have in North Carolina. Since the federal court rulings forced the legal recognition of same sex unions on our state last fall a number of magistrates and register of deeds staff have found themselves in a highly conflicted situation. Although the issuance of marriage licences is a function of register of deeds offices and solemnizing civil marriages is a function of magistrates offices some individuals serving in these offices and in these positions have a sincerely held religious belief that marriage is only the union of one man and one woman. And to participate in a union of a same sex couple would require them to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs. As you heard earlier the statutes that outline the duties and functions of registers of deeds and of magistrates in North Carolina are set by the North Carolina general assembly the are under your purview and it is perfectly appropriate if you deem necessary to amend those laws. As you heard earlier from Senator Newton the administrative office of the court sent out a directive to magistrates and I want to quote a couple of sections from that. All magistrates must treat same sex marriages for which a marriage licence has been issued by the register of deeds the same way marriages between a man and a woman are scheduled and conducted. It further more states that if a magistrate refuses to discharge the duties of his or her office including a refusal to perform a marriage of a same sex couple, that refusal is grounds for suspension or removal from office and paraphrased as well as criminal charges. Thank you. Senate bill two would address this problem by enabling assistant and deputy registers of deeds to recuse themselves from issuing all marriage licences and would enable magistrates to recuse themselves from performing all lawful marriages for a period of at least six months. Magistrates and register of deeds staff will not be able to pick and choose which marriages they participate in but they would recuse from participating in all marriages. This will ensure that marriage certificates will continue to be issued in all one hundred counties of the state and that there will be a magistrate or another judicial official that would perform those marriage ceremonies. So to suggest that marriages will stop in North Carolina is just not factual. Thank you Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That ends the speakers list. We have had eight speakers. Would somebody else like to speak? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Chairman, this is Wayne Reich who was mentioned earlier he is the vice legislative chair for the association of register's and deeds. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And he's not Mr. Davis [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, committee members thank you so much for the opportunity. I'll be very brief in

KAIOVY [0:00:00.0] …In my remarks but I did want to kind of give you some faults, some mistakes Register of Deeds Association I’m here today on behalf of the North Carolina Associations and Register of Deeds, my name is Wayne L. Rash, Register of Deeds at Caldwell County. The state, the Register of Deeds Association is not abdicating for or against this bill; I want to let that be known first we are not taking a position on the bill itself. However, we do have some very serious concerns about the implementation of the bill and how that would work especially for our smaller counties, we did a survey to find out and some of you may have seen this information but the number of employees in each of our 100 Register of Deed’s offices 42 of our counties have three or fewer employees in the Register of Deed’s Office, of those 23 counties have only two employees and then we have eight counties that only have one employee in the office besides the Elected Register of Deeds. So our concern is with the passage of this bill is--how would that work for especially those smaller counties if there is one employee in the office, if there is two employees in the offices, the chances are much greater that they may opt-out of that then if you have a larger county, ?? who has 25 or 30 employees. So the concern becomes how does that work and the bill that’s currently written would ask the Elected Register of Deeds to do all of those marriage licenses. That becomes impractical to ask the Elected Register of Deeds to be there for 52 weeks of the year, Monday to Friday, 08:00 to 05:00 everyday. So again, we are not abdicating against the bill but what I ask that you at least consider some accommodation for those smaller counties, if there is someway to do that I see in the bill that for the magistrates there is an expectation that at least marriages be performed for 10 hours a week, if there is some ability to put an accommodation in there for Register of Deeds staff, especially in these smaller counties because I have much concern for those counties about when and how and how that would work for those counties. So that would be my comments and thank you for that consideration. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Anybody else in the public would like to speak? If not the meeting is adjourned. [0:02:38.3] [End of file…]