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Anti-discrimination bill stalls in committee

10:44 AM, Jun 19, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The push to pass an anti-discrimination bill in Jacksonville is tabled for at least another month.

The bill is officially called the Human Rights Ordinance #296. It is looking to ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals in regards to employment and looking for housing.

The human rights bill is in two separate committees, the Rules Committee and the Recreation, Community Development, Public Health & Safety Committee. It must get through both committees before it can go to city council for a vote.

Monday, one of those committees chose to do nothing, pushing the time-table back to after the July 16 Rules Committee meeting.

"We just ran out of time again," said council member and Rules Committee vice chair John Crescembeni.

The bill has been a topic of heated public comment in city council meetings.

"We've had 30, 40, 100 speakers who want to talk about this," Crescembeni said. "I've never had any legislation that's generated as much correspondence - telephone calls, emails - as this legislation has."

But there was no action on the bill in the Rules Committee meeting Monday.

Committee chair Bill Bishop was out sick, and other members left early.

Crescembeni said he chose to move it to the end of the agenda, to make time for other business.

"It got put at the end of the agenda today, it was at the end of the agenda two weeks ago," Crescembeni said. "It gets what time is left and that's probably not fair."

Crescembeni believes because there is so much discussion surrounding the bill, it needs a stand-alone committee. But that's up to the committee chair, Bishop.

The next time the bill reaches the Rules committee, the members will be different.
Matt Schellenberg, Johnny Gaffney and Bill Bishop are leaving.

The next Rules Committee chair will be Clay Yarborough.

The bill is also in the Recreation, Community Development, Public Health & Safety Committee, which meets Tuesday.

The bill must pass both committees before it heads to city council for a vote.

First Coast News

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