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Idaho Falls considering expanding anti-discrimination ordinance

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Idaho Falls City Hall. | File photo

IDAHO FALLS — Seven years after Idaho Falls passed its anti-discrimination ordinance, city leaders are looking into expanding it.

During a work session Monday, the City Council discussed broadening Title 5, Chapter 11 of the city code. The current anti-discrimination ordinance prohibits discrimination in employment and housing, but it does not include language prohibiting discrimination in public areas.

“Traditionally, what happens is when a government entity passes non-discrimination language, it’s usually three-pronged, so it covers employment, housing and public accommodation,” Idaho Falls spokesman Bud Cranor told EastIdahoNews.com

However, when Idaho Falls passed its anti-discrimination ordinance in 2013, it did not include the prohibition of discrimination in public places.

Councilwoman Michelle Ziel-Dingman told the council it was time to amend the ordinance, according to meeting minutes from Monday’s work session.

“There are more than a dozen cities in Idaho that have already passed these. This is that third area we need to cover,” Cranor said.

According to the proposed amendment, every person — regardless of sexual orientation, gender expression, or identity — has the right to fully enjoy “places open to the general public for resort, accommodation, assemblage and amusement.”

“Discriminatory practices are detrimental because they impede the social and economic progress by preventing all of the city’s occupants from contributing to the cultural, spiritual, social, and commercial life of the community. Such contributions are fundamental components of the city’s growth, vitality, and prosperity,” it states.

Ziel-Dingman said this amendment is also needed for the youth of Idaho Falls, according to the meeting minutes. She said that suicide was the second leading cause of death in youth ages 10 to 19 in 2017.

The council plans to vote on the amendment during its May 14 meeting.

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