A bill that would extend Metro’s nondiscrimination policy to companies that contract with the city has survived to see another day.
The Metro Council voted 22-13 Tuesday night on first reading in favor of a bill that would require companies that contract with Metro to adopt non-discrimination policies covering sexual orientation and gender identity.
Typically, all council legislation passes on the first of three votes unanimously as a way to direct bills into the council’s committee system. But, as expected, council conservatives who say government should not interfere with private business singled out the controversial bill to call for a separate vote on the ordinance. Councilman Robert Duvall of Antioch made the motion.
“We shouldn’t be imposing on private business,” Duvall said. “We shouldn’t be imposing the guidelines that a private business is supposed to operate out of. They all have their own work rules. They all have to follow federal and state laws. We, at the Metro level, shouldn’t be setting another layer of regulation.
“It’s just crazy,” he said. “This country is choking to death on regulation.”
Though the ordinance cleared first reading, at least a few council members presumably voted for the ordinance out of respect for the council process. Moving forward, the bill is certain to set off a fierce debate among members.
“The far right pulled [the bill] off,” said Councilman Jamie Hollin, one of the co-sponsors of the ordinance, referring to the procedural tactic. “They didn’t have the votes to defeat it.”
“We’ve got a long road to hoe,” Hollin acknowledged in terms of reaching final approval. “A lot of council members have questions, and we want to get those questions answered.”
The ordinance is set to go before the council on the second of three votes in February.