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City Council Meeting Reviews Proposed Amendment to Anti-Discrimination Law

Large crowds are expected at tonight’s Springfield City Council meeting as several hot-button issues are on the table.  One highly debated issue is the proposed amendment to the City’s anti-discrimination ordinance.  Many speakers have already signed up to be heard both for and against the proposed amendment.  KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann has more.

The Springfield City Council will begin hearing arguments on both sides of the debate about anti-discrimination protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.  The City legal staff and City Manager recommend the amendment in order to be in line with state and federal laws.  Cora Scott is a spokesperson for the City of Springfield.

“There are a couple of high profile issues that will be brought forth to City Council this evening.  One of them is Council Bill 2012-226, which addresses sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.  And that is an ordinance put together by the Mayor’s Commission on Human Rights. There will be a lot of speakers to speak to that issue, and it won’t go for a vote until two weeks from tonight,” Scott says.

The Springfield City Clerk’s office reports 42 people have already signed up to speak at the public hearing.  Scott says that because of this extraordinarily large number of speakers for this bill, Mayor Bob Stephens is limiting the time of individuals speaking, on this ordinance, to three minutes.  The entire public hearing will be limited to three hours.  

“It [the amendment] would add sexual orientation and gender identity as two issues of protected classes, for specifically public housing and employment,” says Scott.

Scott says the City Council meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Historic Courthouse at 6pm.  She says due to the expected high turnout, there are special overflow rooms equipped with televisions to watch the meeting.  Scott says the meeting will also be available to watch via live stream.  Scott adds the public hearing will be continued at the next Council meeting on Monday August 27, if necessary. For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Bettmann.

 Click here for information about streaming the meeting live