Following an executive session with the city’s attorney regarding analysis of potential legal issues related to the kinds of non-discrimination ordinances adopted by nearby Johnson County cities, Lenexa Mayor Mike Boehm on Tuesday directed city staff to prepare a draft NDO for consideration by the governing body in the coming months.
In May, the city passed a non-binding resolution affirming its opposition to discrimination of any kind. At the time, the governing body indicated that it planned to wait to see whether cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court provided any clarity about federal protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. During a council meeting this spring, Boehm said he believed a statewide law would provide more consistency and ensure there were no enforcement challenges at the city level.
Those concerns still persist, Boehm said Wednesday, but he believes it is time to put policy language together for public discussion by the council.
“This shouldn’t be a signal to anyone that we will or won’t approve anything,” he said. “By our previous actions, I think we have indicated our general support for the concept. But the last thing we want to do is pass something that feels good but doesn’t really accomplish anything.”
He emphasized that he continues to believe the state or federal legislature would be the preferred jurisdiction for non-discrimination laws, but because there was little movement on the issue at those levels, it was worth consideration at the city level.
“The preference has been and still is that the state or federal government would be the better place to handle this,” he said. “Something uniform would be better than having a bunch of cities with different ordinances.”
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