Fairbanks City Council holds second set of workshops on equal rights law

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Fairbanks City Council held its second set of workshops on an ordinance addressing equal rights Monday. The morning meeting was the first of three discussions.

Councilwoman Kathy Ottersten began the conversation, revealing she'd like to take the ordinance back to its original draft, which was created based on Juneau's anti-discrimination law.

"We know it works. We know it's caused no disruption,” she said.

Throughout the meeting, the council discussed a variety of topics in regards to the equal rights ordinance including the women's shelter lawsuit in Anchorage, bathroom bills and what federal rights residents have. And with hours of public testimony and close to 300 emails sent to council-members based on this ordinance, the council is one step closer to making a decision.

“People have different perspectives. One lady says, and the fear is, you're putting in laws that are going to be used as an ax. Another person says these people are needing this protection. They're both right," Councilman David Pruhs said.

Councilwoman Ottersten said she will be making a few changes to the ordinance with the city's attorney Paul Ewers for the council to review on Wednesday, including a clean-up of the language presented in the potential law.

According to city officials, these meetings are open to the public; however, there is no public hearing scheduled. The council is set to further discuss and potentially vote on Ordinance 6093 at its February 25 meeting.

Councilman Pruhs, in agreement with the rest of the council, suggested having an expanded police presence at the meeting as well.