Just two weeks after the Roeland Park City Council passed an anti-discrimination ordinance, reversing an earlier July vote, the new ordinance is back on the agenda.
The question this time is much narrower than the issues which swirled around the original deliberations. It focuses on a concern that the wording in the new ordinance inadvertently will prevent businesses from offering discounts to veterans or active members of the military. The ordinance, passed on Aug. 4, says that businesses cannot “make a distinction, directly or indirectly” in offering its services to members of the protected classes. Military status was included in the ordinance as a protected class.
City Administrator Aaron Otto said the question was first raised by a resident whether the inclusion of military status and the language of the ordinance created an unintentional conflict with discounts for military status. If the council agrees that the consequence was unintentional, it can be clarified by adding a sentence to the end of the ordinance: “Notwithstanding the above, nothing in this Article shall be construed to prevent any business as defined in this Article from offering, affording or providing any additional benefit or additional discount to a person because of such person’s
The ordinance itself does not take effect until January 1, so it can be changed before implementation. The question of amending the ordinance is on the committee of the whole agenda for the Roeland Park council tonight.