A new petition designed to repeal the Roeland Park anti-discrimination ordinance has been given approval by the Johnson County legal department, the first step of several in getting a vote before the public.
The Roeland Park City Council approved the ordinance in August when Mayor Joel Marquardt broke a tie vote, reversing a previous rejection of the proposal that adds protection for sexual orientation, gender identity and military status. A petition to repeal that ordinance was submitted to the county legal department for review a few days later by Linda Mau, a former council member and mayoral candidate who had opposed the ordinance.
The county legal department only reviews the form of the question on the petition. The governing body decides if the petition is valid, according to Mary Buhl who has reviewed both petitions. The first petition submitted “was not sufficient,” according to the legal department. However, a new petition submitted in late August has gained approval for the form of the question.
The Johnson County Election Office said it has not received any signatures to verify on a Roeland Park petition. That would be the next step in the process after a petition is circulated. If 472 valid signatures are received from Roeland Park voters on the petition asking for repeal, then the city council must either repeal the ordinance or schedule a city-wide vote to let the public decide its fate.
The letter approving the form of the question carried several caveats, including the fact that the petition sought to repeal any future amendments to the ordinance. The new petition and letters of approval are found below.