For Immediate Release
Process for August 27 Council Meeting
City officials expect another packed house at the next City Council meeting, Aug. 27 at Historic City Hall. At the last meeting, Aug. 13, more than 400 people attended and another 1700 watched live video streams online.
Monday night's meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live on Mediacom cable channels 15.1 and 80, AT&T's U-verse and the City's live video stream at springfieldmo.gov/cityview. Updates will also be available live at the City's Twitter feed: CityofSgf and citizens are encouraged to use hashtag #sgfcouncil to chime in with opinions. Overflow rooms equipped with televisions will be opened to accommodate the expected large crowd, and a public address system will be set up outside, in case the crowd exceeds building capacities again.
The two Council bills addressing the sexual orientation and gender identity issue have been moved to the end of the agenda so citizens addressing other agenda items won't have to wait through the possible 2-4 hours of public hearings on those bills.
Also on the agenda is Council Bill 2012-227 (pdf), the result of an initiative petition to lessen the penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The Council can pass the initiative, or it can place it on the November ballot – the City Charter limits City Council to only these two options.
Council is also expected to vote on a rezoning request tied to the potential development of a Hampton Inn hotel southwest of the 65/Evans interchange and the annual City Utilities budget. Another agenda item addresses the issue of food trucks and other temporary vendors.
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Nondiscrimination
The Springfield City Clerk's office reports 85 people have signed up to speak at the public hearing on Council Bill 2012-226 (pdf - Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) and 52 on Council Bill 2012-248 (pdf), an emergency bill that would send it to a vote of the people.
Due to the extraordinarily large number of speakers on the issue, Springfield Mayor Stephens is limiting the time of individuals speaking to both the ordinance itself and the emergency bill to send it to a vote of the people, to three minutes each and a total of two hours for each public hearing.
Addressing this issue could be a one-step, two-step, or three-step process,depending on what City Council votes to do. These three steps were presented and discussed at City Council's Aug. 21 study session and are summarized below.
At the workshop Councilman Thomas Bieker indicated that he plans to make a motion to table this issue and refer it to a community task force. The Mayor plans to allow Councilman Bieker to make his motion early in the agenda. If this motion passes, the other two Council bills (2012-248 and 2012-226) would be tabled and their associated public hearings would be canceled.
- Step 1
The first step will be for City Council to consider a "Motion to Table" that Councilman Bieker has stated that he will present for City Council's consideration.
If Council passes Councilman Bieker's motion, the issue will be tabled and a community task force will be created to study this issue further. This motion would table both the bill that was heard Aug. 13 and the emergency bill (2012-248) offered by Mayor Pro Tem Seifried that is on Monday night's agenda, which proposes to send this issue to the voters on the November ballot.
If this motion is passed by Council on Monday night and both bills are tabled, City Council will not hold a public hearing on either bill; in essence, Council will not take steps two and three.
If Council does not pass Councilman Bieker's motion, Council will proceed to the second step – hearing the emergency bill on calling the election at the end of Monday night's agenda.
- Step 2
The second step is consideration of the emergency bill requested by Mayor Pro Tem Seifried. This emergency bill is, in effect, an alternate to the original bill that City Council heard two weeks ago, and proposes to send only the non-discrimination proposal to the voters in the November election. It does not propose to send the changes regarding how the Mayor's Commission on Human Rights will administratively function.
The Mayor plans to allow up to two hours of public comment on this bill, and will again propose limiting each speaker to three minutes. Anyone can speak on this bill, even if they spoke on the original bill. However, comments must be focused only whether or not City Council should send this issue to the November election. The Mayor has indicated that he will be firm in keeping speakers focused on this one question.
This "emergency" bill is, in fact, considered an "emergency" since it is calling an election and can be voted on Monday night in order to meet the State's deadline for submission onto the November ballot.
If Council passes this emergency bill, this issue will be placed on the November election ballot. The deadline for getting an item on the November ballot is Aug. 28. The estimated cost to the City to have an item on the November ballot is $183,000.
If Council passes this emergency bill, the original bill – the one Council heard two weeks ago – will "die on the table."
- Step 3
If Council does not pass the emergency bill, Council will proceed with resuming the public hearing on the original bill that began at the Aug. 13 meeting, but was suspended after three hours of public testimony. If Council gets to this point, it is the Mayor's intention to allow two additional hours of public comment on Monday night and again limit each speaker to three minutes, followed by a vote.
For more information, contact Cora Scott, director of public information and civic engagement, at 417-864-1009 or 417-380-3352 or email@example.com.