Prairie Village takes big step toward adoption of non-discrimination ordinance on unanimous vote

The Prairie Village city council on Monday took a big step toward providing legal protections to LGBTQ+ individuals through a non-discrimination ordinance.

On a 12-0 vote, the council directed staff to draw up a final ordinance that would come before the governing body for approval in December. If approved then, the new non-discrimination could go into effect in January.

The ordinance would “prohibit discrimination and retaliation based upon sexual orientation and gender identity, giving these characteristics the same protection state and federal law already consistently provides with respect to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, familial status, and military status,” according to language included in the draft considered Monday.

The council’s unanimous vote came after a lengthy discussion during which members of the council posed a number of questions to staff about which organizations would be subject to the provisions of the ordinance, how the ordinance would be enforced, and what penalties those who violate the ordinance would face.

Jeff Harris, a member of the Westwood city council, spoke in favor of the NDO in his role as a member of The Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

The council approved a handful of amendments to the ordinance that expanded its applicability and increased the possible penalties for violation. Those changes included:

  • Increasing the maximum possible penalty for a violation from $500 to $1,000.
  • Making the ordinance applicable to all employers, not just those with four or more employees.
  • Making the ordinance applicable to all rental housing, not just rental properties with four or more units.

City staff drafted the version of the NDO considered last night on the council’s direction after a 9-3 vote to move the proposal forward last month.

Merriam and Mission are considering the adoption of similar ordinances as well.

The full draft ordinance presented to the Prairie Village council Monday is embedded below. (Note that it does not include the amendments and slight language tweaks approved by the council last night).

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