Mission Hills looking to join other northeast Johnson County cities with non-discrimination ordinance

Mission Hills will move forward with drafting a non-discrimination ordinance that would provide legal protections for LGBTQ+ residents and employees, the city council agreed Monday. The city will base its ordinance off of those adopted by the neighboring cities of Mission, Prairie Village, Merriam and Roeland Park.

Mission Hills City Hall
Mission Hills City Hall.

Ordinances passed by those northeast Johnson County cities provides LGBTQ residents with legal protections from discrimination that apply to commercial employers and rental housing. Generally speaking, exemptions are allowed for religious institutions and private entities like country clubs.

Councilmember Bill Bruning said that while he fully supported the idea and message behind non-discrimination ordinances, he wasn’t sure an NDO was necessary in the city since there are not multi-family rentals or commercial properties within Mission Hills. Bruning questioned whether the NDO would create enforcement obligations without any gain.

City staff said the ordinance would mainly apply to city employees and city contractors.
Bruning asked if city employees were already required to follow a non-discrimination agreement. City staff said that employee handbooks did contain that language.

“If we are doing it on principle that’s fine, but we need to understand that’s why we are doing it,” Bruning said.

Councilmember Braden Perry said it was important to tailor the ordinance to fit Mission Hill’s unique needs without making overly stringent regulations. Perry said he thought the ordinance would send the message that the Midwest is inclusive.

“I think it’s important,” he said.

City staff said they expected to have a draft ordinance ready next month.