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Momentum Builds As Third & Final Council Committee Gives #JaxHRO Seal Of Approval February 8, 2017

The #JaxHRO passed its third and final committee hearing this morning.

The Finance Committee just voted 4-3 to advance the HRO, clearing the way for it to be considered by the full City Council next Tuesday, February 14th.

Unfortunately, the committee attached a religious exemptions amendment, which could undermine the HRO’s core purpose. LGBT people deserve fair and equal protections, nothing more or less. But essentially, this amendment has the potential to set apart LGBT people and allow them to be treated differently than other protected classes.

The committee also considered and rejected an amendment passed earlier in the week by the Neighborhoods, Community Investments & Services (NCIS) Committee. That amendment would exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees from being bound by the HRO’s LGBT nondiscrimination provisions. The standard small business exemption is 15 employees.

The Finance Committee next deliberated a measure that would delay the HRO’s implementation and possibly add it to the 2018 ballot. That amendment was ruled out of order and defeated 5-2. #JaxHRO co-sponsors Councilmembers Aaron Bowman and Tommy Hazouri raised concerns about the economic impact of delay.

Councilmember Crescimbeni also spoke favorably of an LGBT-inclusive HRO, noting the city already has nondiscrimination protections on the books and that the exclusion of LGBT people from those protections is an error in need of correction.

Now that the #JaxHRO has passed all three committees it will go before the full City Council for a vote next Tuesday, February 14th. This meeting is a historic occasion, one that no proponent of the #JaxHRO will want to miss. And with these discriminatory amendments in the mix, it’s more important than ever that you have your voice heard.

Supporters interested in attending can click here to reserve a spot. The Council will convene at 5 p.m., but it will be crowded so attendees are being asked to arrive at City Hall at 4 p.m.

And the Council still needs to hear from concerned citizens. Click here to send an email to all council members calling for passage of the #JaxHRO.