Chairman says Overland Park committee will discuss city-level non-discrimination ordinance next month

Jay Senter - August 8, 2019 11:12 am
Councilman Curt Skoog chairs Overland Park’s community development committee, and said the group will discuss a city-level NDO next month. File photo.

Earlier this year, the Overland Park City Council approved a resolution voicing the governing body’s support for a state-level bill that would offer legal protection to LGBTQ+ individuals.

At the time, city leaders including Mayor Carl Gerlach indicated that the state was in a better position to oversee enforcement of such protections, but that Overland Park might consider a city-level ordinance if the state failed to act.

Next month, however, the idea of a city-level non-discrimination ordinance will get a formal discussion at the city’s community development committee.

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Chairman Curt Skoog, a councilman who represents Ward 2, said at the start of Wednesday’s committee meeting that the issue would be on the agenda for next month.

“On next month’s agenda, we will have…a presentation from the legal department and a discussion about non-discrimination ordinances,” Skoog said.

That would make Overland Park the 11th city in the Shawnee Mission area to at least commit to discussion of a city level non-discrimination ordinance.

Roeland Park was the first city in northeast Johnson County to adopt a NDO back in 2014. Since then, Prairie Village, Mission, Merriam, Westwood Hills, Mission Woods and Mission Hills have all adopted NDOs.

Westwood’s council is considering adoption of an NDO. And both Leawood and Shawnee are expected to discuss NDOs at council meetings next week.

As chair of the committee, Skoog has the authority to place items on the agenda for discussion. During the council-level conversation about the resolution in support of a state bill in February, Skoog said he was interested in bringing the issue before community development committee for consideration.

The community development committee could direct staff to work on language for a non-discrimination ordinance, and then vote on whether to recommend the ordinance to the full city council for adoption. The committee is made up of councilmembers Skoog, Rick Collins, Gina Burke, Faris Farassati, Terry Happer Scheier and Jim Kite.

The idea of adopting a city-level non-discrimination ordinance was among the topics addressed in our questionnaire by the candidates running for Overland Park city council ahead of this week’s primaries.

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