Oct 24, 2012 9:35 PM by Lindsey Gordon (lindsey@kxlh.com)

Helena's non-discrimination ordinance will wait another week

The City of Helena Commission has deferred the non-discrimination draft issue until next week's administrative meeting, which will be Wednesday, October 31, when they plan to vote on whether or not the draft goes to the public hearing phase.

Montana Human Rights Network spokesman Jamie Greer said that it looks favorable that the commission will move the draft ordinance into the public hearing process.

The vote was stalled during Wednesday's meeting because there were still questions about parts of the ordinance.

Specifically, Mayor Jim Smith and Commissioners Dan Ellison and Matt Elsaesser had issues with certain parts of the draft ordinance.

One main issue was the definition within the ordinance of "perception" of sexual orientation.

The section on discrimination in educational institutions was deleted from the draft, because it is not within the commission's purview.

The City Attorney, Jeffrey Hindoien, will work to make changes to the draft before next week's administrative meeting.

At Wednesday's meeting, the conference room was literally overflowing with community members.

The commission heard many supporters urging them to move forward with the non-discrimination ordinance to a public hearing, as well as a fewer that were in opposition to the ordinance.

It was last January that the commission decided to pursue drafting a non-discrimination ordinance.

Click here to read the full text of the draft ordinance (PDF).


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