Idaho town rejects anti-discrimination ordinance, says it will rework proposal

Pocatello, IdahoSource

Pocatello, IdahoSource

POCATELLO, Idaho — The Pocatello City Council in southeast Idaho has rejected an ordinance that would have prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, employment and public accommodations.

Pocatello, IdahoSource

Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad cast the deciding vote Thursday to break a 3-3 tie, reported the Idaho State Journal.

After voting against the ordinance, Blad ordered a May 9 work session for a new, modified anti-discrimination ordinance to be introduced at the June 6 council meeting.

Blad says the proposed ordinance has split the community and his goal now was to draft an ordinance most people could accept.

At issue was removal by deputy city attorney Kirk Bybee of a line from the original proposed ordinance that called for Idaho Rules of Criminal Procedure to be used in mediation.

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Since the mediation session under the ordinance was designed to avoid a criminal charge, he said the change made sense. However, its removal also meant both parties would have to pay the cost of mediation. Bybee said he modified the ordinance to avoid possible legal issues for the city of Pocatello.

Bybee said the proposed ordinance that was rejected was modeled after anti-discrimination ordinances passed in Sandpoint, Boise and Moscow.

Four cities have passed anti-LGBT discrimination ordinances, but for the seventh year in a row, the Idaho state legislature declined to consider a similar statewide measure.

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