Ann Arbor Opposes Bill to Limit Protections

At its Nov. 21, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council unanimously passed a resolution expressing its opposition to a proposed Michigan state house bill from Tom McMillin, a Republican representing District 45, which includes Rochester. McMillin’s bill would amend Michigan’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act by declaring null and void legislation enacted by local units that expands the set of protected classes in the Civil Rights Act. [.pdf of Michigan's Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act] [.pdf of McMillin's proposed bill (HB 5039)]

The protected classes enumerated in the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act include categories based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, or marital status. The city of Ann Arbor’s non-discrimination ordinance adds sexual orientation, gender identity, or student status as classes of people against whom discrimination is prohibited. [.pdf of Ann Arbor's Chapter 112 non-discrimination ordinance]

So McMillin’s bill, if eventually signed into law, would nullify Ann Arbor’s Chapter 112 of its city code. The Ann Arbor city council’s resolution cites Michigan’s Constitution, which provides that ”Each such city and village shall have power to adopt resolutions and ordinances relating to its municipal concerns, property and government, subject to the constitution and law.” [.pdf of Section 22 of Michigan Constitution]

The bill has been referred to the state House judiciary committee. The 17-member judiciary committee for the state House includes 10 Republicans and seven Democrats, one of whom is Jeff Irwin (D-53), who represents a district that includes most of Ann Arbor.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]