Printed on: September 12, 2013

I.F. council expecting big crowd

By CHRISTINA LORDS
clords@postregister.com

The city of Idaho Falls will live stream tonight's City Council meeting online to accommodate anticipated additional interest for the second reading of the city's proposed anti-discrimination ordinance.

The move comes after a series of three fliers was mailed to 5,000 residents from resident Brett Wright denouncing the inclusion of public accommodations in the ordinance. Wright also produced similar yard signs.

The fliers encouraged residents to attend the 7:30 p.m. meeting in the council chambers, 680 Park Ave., as well as contact council members.

City spokeswoman Kerry McCullough said residents could be turned away from the meeting to adhere to fire code laws should the chambers reach capacity.

Several council members, including Ida Hardcastle, Sharon Parry and Mike Lehto, said they have received more than 100 emails and calls since the fliers were distributed.

The council unanimously passed the ordinance with the public accommodations portion included at its July 25 meeting.

An ordinance is required to have three separate readings to become law, but the council can suspend those rules if it deems it has enough information to make a decision.

It tabled the ordinance Aug. 8, citing the need for more time to evaluate the accommodations element.

Council President Ida Hardcastle said she will move to consider the ordinance without the accommodations portion and suggest a final vote on the matter tonight.

The original ordinance would ban discrimination in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Residents can go to www.idahofallsidaho.gov to view the meeting online.

Reporter Christina Lords can be reached at 542-6762.