On the heels of the October 25th Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations hearing on Gayborhood racism, City Councilman-at-Large Derek Green introduced companion bills on Thursday that would tie a business’s ability to retain its commercial activity license to its adherence to the city’s existing Fair Practices Ordinance.
“Mayor Kenney, Councilman Mark Squilla, and myself, along with a room filled with concerned citizens last week, listened to strong testimony before the Human Relations Commission from members of the LGBTQ community about the discrimination they’ve endured,” Green said in a statement. “Although laws alone cannot foster a culture of inclusion, we must come together to protect and celebrate our fellow citizens and challenge those who seek to discriminate.”
Green sent the following statement exclusively to G Philly further explaining his reasoning behind proposing the bill:
“I was inspired to introduce this bill based upon seeing the video, conversations with people in the community, and the passionate statements that were made during the October 25th Commission on Human Relations hearing. During the hearing, I learned that some of these issues and concerns are not new and have been felt by citizens of our City for some time. It is unfortunate that in 2016 we have people that either live or visit our City that feel that they are being discriminated against in public businesses.”
Green’s other proposal would also amend the Fair Practices Ordinance, which already prohibits discrimination in public accommodation, employment, and housing, to keep businesses from acquiring or possessing the commercial activity license needed to operate within the City of Philadelphia if they are found to be discriminating against patrons.
The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L & I) currently does not have the authority to revoke or deny a commercial activity license if a business does not comply with mandates under the Fair Practices Ordinance. Under Green’s proposed amendment, L & I would be authorized to reject the licenses of businesses that are not following the the ordinance.