Overland Park mayor calls special meeting Monday for consideration of non-discrimination ordinance

Jay Senter - October 3, 2019 11:30 am
Overland Park Mayor Carl Gerlach has called for a special meeting Monday to consider an ordinance that would offer legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals.

The largest city in Johnson County and the second largest city in the state of Kansas will formally consider adoption of a non-discrimination ordinance with legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals on Monday.

Overland Park Mayor Carl Gerlach today announced he was calling a special meeting of the city’s council committee of the whole ahead of next week’s regularly scheduled council meeting. The special council committee of the whole meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.

If the council recommends advancement of the measure at the committee meeting, the governing body would then take it up for formal approval and adoption at the regular council meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m.

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On Sept. 4, the city’s community development committee discussed specifics of a non-discrimination ordinance in Overland Park for the first time. More than 50 people spoke about the proposal that night, with all but four of them voicing support for the measure.

The city council had approved a resolution voicing opposition to discrimination of any kind back in February, but declined at the time to take up a non-discrimination ordinance that had enforceable provisions in it, with city leaders saying the state legislature would be a better venue for codifying civil rights protections.

Lenexa, another of Johnson County’s “big five” cities, approved a non-discrimination ordinance earlier this week. Shawnee, the third largest city in the county, adopted one in August, as did Leawood. Should Overland Park approve an NDO, Olathe would be the only “big five” municipality not to have adopted such a measure thus far.

Roeland Park was the first Johnson County city to approve an NDO back in 2014. Since then, nine additional municipalities – Shawnee, Lenexa, Prairie Village, Merriam, Mission, Leawood, Mission Hills, Westwood Hills and Mission Woods — have passed similar ordinances. The governing bodies in Westwood and Fairway have also begun the process of considering NDOs.

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