The February 04, 2016 "Committee of the Whole" meeting can be viewed by downloading this file, which covers all three hours.  The file is large, at 850 MB.  The Citizen input takes place during the final hour.

Hazouri To Withdraw His Bill

2016Feb14: March for Equality planned in Jacksonville for Thursday

 A.G. Gancarski | February 14, 2016

The Human Rights Ordinance expansion may be going away from Jacksonville in the short term, but LGBT equality advocates are not, as a march is planned Thursday.

The march, just hours before Tommy Hazouri is expected to withdraw his legislation at the Thursday afternoon Committee of the Whole (in light of a seeming erosion of Council will to pass a bill, campaign promises of many legislators notwithstanding), is in support of a fully-inclusive Human Rights Ordinance.

"We will gather in Hemming Park and move south on the sidewalk down Laura Street towards the Main Street bridge. We will walk on the sidewalk of the Main Street bridge to Friendship Fountain, and regroup. There we will have speakers (TBA) comment on the urgent need for a city-wide non-discrimination policy that protects all members of the LGBTQI+ community," writes event organizer "Kelly Florida."

No word on a counter-march planned by HRO opponents... yet.

2016Feb13: Tommy Hazouri to withdraw HRO bill

by A.G. Gancarski 13Feb2016

A temporary setback for the movement to expand the Human Rights Ordinance in Jacksonville was revealed Saturday, when Tommy Hazouri announced his decision to withdraw his bill.

Below, a statement from Hazouri:

Today, I requested that Council President Greg Anderson give me the opportunity at the next Committee of the Whole Meeting on Thursday, February 16th to withdraw Bill 2016-002 that would expand our current Human Rights Ordinance to include the LGBT community.

Over the past few months, I have held several sunshine meetings with my colleagues, heard from hundreds of concerns citizens, and tirelessly studied this very important issue.  As a result, I have come to the decision that at this time, the City Council and many citizens of Jacksonville still have sincere questions and are not ready to move forward on this issue.

Since my campaign for election to the City Council, I have vigorously supported amending our current Human Rights Ordinance to include all of Jacksonville’s citizens.  I believe that passing this legislation, 2016-002, is imperative if we are truly to be One City—One Jacksonville.  It defines who we are as a city—a city that is inclusive and competitive.  Today, we are stuck in the past, frozen in time, when it comes to human rights.

Mayor Curry should be commended for wanting to move forward on this issue by ordering a departmental directive—an Executive Order, to make certain that we have a nondiscrimination policy including the LGBT community for all City employees, and vendors who do business with the city.  Clearly, however, this directive, while a step forward, does not go far enough.

Passing Bill 2016-002 is vital if we are to move our city forward.

This bill and this issue is coming back.

I plan to take the next several months to continue working with the office of the General Counsel, further addressing the bill’s effect on small businesses, religious organizations and public accommodations.  It is also critical that we make certain that the public understands that this is not a “bathroom bill.”

I want to thank my fellow co-sponsors Aaron Bowman and Jim Love, for their courageous leadership on this issue.  It is my hope and expectation that when we do re-introduce this bill, that other Council Members, too, will lead on this issue that is holding Jacksonville back from being the great city we all know it can be.

This is not a setback for LGBTs, but a maneuver.

Clearly, after Meeting-1 Mr Hazouri realizes that he has too few votes to override a mayoral veto.  So, he intends to delay long enough to prevent a referendum in November. 

And, then he will return with a slightly-modified bill that gains more veto-override votes.

It takes 13 votes to override a mayoral veto, and just 7 to sustain a veto.

Stay tuned.  We will update you the moment we know more.