Pundit expects Lexington Council to suspend rules, pass anti-SOI discrimination on Thursday

LEXINGTON, KY – The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council is currently deliberating a significant ordinance designed to ban source of income discrimination, a move that has sparked diverse opinions among council members and the public. The ordinance, which was recently passed by the Council’s Social Services and Public Safety Committee, is slated for its first reading this Thursday, potentially leading to a rapid final vote on the same day.

Adrian Paul Bryant, a local commentator and city hall reporter for CivicLex, has been actively updating the public via Twitter on the developments and debates surrounding this ordinance. According to Bryant’s updates, District 5 Councilmember Sheehan has expressed support for the motion but voiced concerns over the legislative process’s speed. She highlighted worries about housing providers who find the inspection process for vouchers cumbersome and called for improvements from the Housing Authority in this regard.

In contrast, Vice Mayor Wu argued against the notion that advancing the ordinance equates to rushing it. He emphasized the importance of not legislating in fear of potential state-level responses, questioning the council’s purpose if it constantly avoids controversial legislation.

District 6 Councilmember Gray and District 10 Councilmember Sevigny, the chief sponsor of the ordinance, are firmly in support of moving forward with the ordinance. Sevigny particularly noted the futility of legislating based on speculation about state-level reactions, advocating for the Council to focus on its jurisdiction.

A motion by At-large Councilmember Ellinger to delay the ordinance to March 5th was overwhelmingly defeated, reinforcing the council’s inclination to proceed without delay. This decision underscores a commitment to address the issue of source of income discrimination promptly.

The ordinance, if passed, will represent a significant step towards social justice and equity in housing. It aims to ensure that individuals are not discriminated against based on their sources of income, such as housing vouchers or other forms of assistance. This move is particularly crucial in a society where economic disparities and housing insecurities are prominent concerns.

“We are allowed to suspend the rules for the second reading on this ordinance,” wrote Dave Sevigny in a Tuesday text message to the Lexington Times. “There are 15 members of council who can do it and it needs a second and a vote of the majority. The public and their comments are always a welcome part of council meetings. Either way this will have some action taken by end of day Feb 15.”

Sevigny did not respond to a follow-up question specifically asking if he planned to introduce a motion to suspend the rules and give the ordinance second reading on Thursday.

Residents interested in the outcome of this ordinance are encouraged to attend the Council Chambers this Thursday at 6 pm. The first reading of the ordinance is scheduled for Thursday, with the possibility of an immediate second reading and final vote on the same day. Otherwise, the second reading and vote will occur at the Council’s February 15 meeting.

Avatar for Paul Oliva

Paul Oliva is the Lexington Times Editor Emeritus. He grew up in Lexington.