June 16, 2021
Lawrence, US 93 F
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Lawrence City Commission recap for April 20, 2021

The Lawrence City Commission met virtually Tuesday evening.

• The commission approved an ordinance that will ban “conversion therapy,” which attempts to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity, for minors.
↪️ Passed, 5-0.

Commissioners discussed this during a meeting earlier in April but deferred it to discuss its wording with city attorneys. Commissioner Jennifer Ananda had qualms with the ordinance’s language that exempted clergy, which the city attorney said was included mainly to avoid First Amendment challenges. According to the updated ordinance, it was determined that the definition explaining to whom the ban would apply — “providers” — was clear enough that the clergy exemption was not needed.

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Multiple commissioners spoke in favor of the ordinance before approving it unanimously. Commissioner Lisa Larsen noted that she agreed with a public commenter who said they shouldn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

• Commissioners accepted a report with recommendations for grants and held a public hearing to get community feedback on housing and development needs. The draft recommendations are here.

The commission didn’t need to give official approval for any plans Tuesday. City staff will continue to gather written public comments, then bring a revised report back to the commission in June. Comments can be mailed to the City of Lawrence Community Development Division, P.O. Box 708, Lawrence, KS 66044 or emailed to dwalters@lawrenceks.org through May 21.

The Lawrence City Commission will next meet on Tuesday, May 4. The agenda will be posted here.

The city’s YouTube videos appear at this link. Here’s Tuesday’s meeting:

Meeting lingo:

• Consent agenda: A list of a bunch of items that are considered “routine,” so the governing board usually makes one motion to approve the whole list. A member of the public or a member of the governing board can request that an item or items be pulled from the consent agenda for discussion before a vote. This vote usually occurs toward the beginning of meetings.

• Executive session: Closed to the public, generally to discuss pending legal actions or personnel matters. The governing board may or may not take action once the public meeting resumes.

• Regular agenda: Items the governing board will generally discuss or hear during the meeting, rather than approving them with no discussion.

Questions? Terms missing? Email us at hello@lawrencekstimes.com.

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