UPDATED: City Council Limits Public Attendance at Tonight’s Meeting

Tonight, the Fayetteville City Council will meet to discuss the highly-controversial “nondiscrimination” ordinance we have been telling you about. The meeting will take place at 5:30 PM at the Fayetteville city offices at 113 West Mountain Street in Fayetteville. Doors will open at 4:30 PM.

If you live in the Fayetteville area, it is very important that you come to this meeting—and get there as early as you can. Some members of the Fayetteville City Council seem determined to limit discussion of this proposal.

Yesterday the Fayetteville City Council met to decide whether or not to change the venue of tonight’s council meeting. Some council members were pushing to move the meeting from the city offices, where the council typically meets, to the Fayetteville Town Center, which can accommodate many more members of the public. It is not uncommon for public bodies like a city council to change to larger venues if they expect many members of the public to attend the meeting. The council has chosen not to change venues. That means as soon as the room in which the council meets reaches the fire code’s maximum occupancy, city officials will turn away any other attendees.

It is very important that our friends in Fayetteville come to this meeting, and get there as early as possible. As we said, doors to the meeting room will open at 4:30 PM; the room could be full by as early as 4:45 PM.

If passed, this proposed city ordinance will infringe religious liberty, open family businesses to frivolous prosecution, and have a chilling effect on commerce in Fayetteville.

The city council has already imposed a de facto limit on attendance at tonight’s meeting. It is entirely possible they will also try to limit public debate on the proposed ordinance itself.

If you cannot attend tonight’s meeting, please contact the members of the Fayetteville City Council. Click here for their phone numbers and email addresses.

For more information on how the ordinance impacts businesses, click here.

For more information on how the ordinance impacts churches and private schools, click here.

If you have any questions, please call our office at (501) 375-7000.

UPDATE 9:51 AM: We have been told the room in which the city council meets has a maximum occupancy of 130 people. The Fayetteville Chief of Police or similar official will be present to escort members of the public into and out of the room, thus ensuring no more than 130 people are present for the meeting.

Proposed Fayetteville Ordinance Could Have “Chilling Effect” on Business

I have been told by friends in Northwest Arkansas that the Fayetteville City Council is receiving 300 emails a day over its Proposed Chapter 119 ordinance. That’s great news!

This is an issue all Arkansans need to weigh in on, and it’s important that members of the council hear from as many people as possible.

The ordinance, as we have said before, threatens to infringe on the rights of churches as well as religious business people in Fayetteville.

You can read a full analysis of how the proposed ordinance affects religious liberty here.

It is also important to note that the ordinance has the potential to impact secular business owners. The ordinance makes it possible for businesses to face criminal prosecution if suspected of discrimination. Even if the allegations turn out to be totally false, a business might still be forced to spend thousands of dollars defending itself in court. For many small businesses, legal fees like those can be a death sentence. (more…)