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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE An overflow crowd is expected tonight at City Council meeting, as more than 30 people have signed up to address a single issue – the consideration of adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes in the City’s non-discrimination ordinance. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. but doors will open to Council Chambers at 5:15 p.m. Two overflow rooms will be set up outside council chambers - on the second and third floors - with video screens allowing citizens to view and hear the proceedings. It is still anticipated, however that turnout may exceed the building’s fire code capacity. The City’s Public Information Department will broadcast and live web stream the meeting: • Cable viewers with Mediacom service may tune in to channel 80 or 15.1. • Those with AT&T service can access the broadcast by selecting Channel 99 (menu guide) and selecting the government access channel option. • Online access is available from the City’s website homepage: springfieldmo.gov. This stream is accessible to mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones. Officials also remind citizens planning to attend the meeting in Council Chambers that certain rules apply. These rules are outlined in the City’s Code: Section 2-45 Subsection C Decorum Signs and displays. No person shall carry or display a sign inside the city council chambers or any other similar type of written communication which is carried or displayed, except nothing contained in this section shall be construed to prohibit a person from using visual materials when presenting a matter to the city council. The city council hereby determines that signs or displays in the council chambers may obstruct the view of citizens, can cause injury and affect the decorum of city council meetings, and are hereby prohibited for such reasons. The sergeant-at-arms shall inform citizens when signs or displays violate this section and shall remove the signs or displays from the council chambers or may cause citizens carrying such signs or displays to be removed from the council chambers. - (Code 1981, § 2-15) People who violate the city code or disrupt the decorum of the meeting may be asked to leave the meeting. Citizens wishing to speak on behalf of the bill may call the City Clerk’s office at 864-1443. The sign-up period to speak will continue until the title of bill is read at the meeting. Remarks will be limited to three minutes each, per direction from Mayor Bob Stephens. According to City Code: Chapter 2-42 , remarks must be limited to the bill itself. Mayor Stephens said he will ask anyone straying from the content of the bill to return back to the content. Those not complying may asked to conclude their comments. The Mayor said he is expecting a large crowd. A few hundred attended the last City Council meeting, which addressed this issue in 2012. The issue was referred to a Citizen Task Force, whose members made recommendations to Council’s Community Involvement Committee last month. A bill and a substitute bill are on the agenda: 2014-189: A general ordinance amending Chapter 2, Administration, Article IV, Boards, Commissions and Committees, Division 4, Mayor’s Commission on Human Rights and Community Relations, Section 2-223; and Chapter 62, Human Rights, to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of categories of persons protected from discrimination, to consolidate the Commission’s investigative process into a single division of the Code, and to clarify the Commission’s powers in light of recent court decisions. 2014-189 Sub. 1. A general ordinance amending Chapter 2, Administration, Article IV, Boards, Commissions and Committees, Division 4, Mayor’s Commission on Human Rights and Community Relations, section 2-223; and Chapter 62, Human Rights, to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of categories of persons protected from discrimination in the area of housing, to consolidate the Commission’s investigative process into a single division of the Code, and to clarify the Commission’s powers in light of recent court decisions, and requesting additional study pertaining to discrimination in the areas of employment and public accommodation. # # # MEDIA: Direct link to the video stream is below. Click on the embed option if you wish to embed the stream into your website. For more information, contact: Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, 417-864-1009 (office) | 417-380-3352 (cell), [email protected]