Notice of city of houston, texas, general election



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NOTICE OF CITY OF HOUSTON, TEXAS, GENERAL ELECTION,

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2015


To the registered voters of the City of Houston, Texas:
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the City of Houston, Texas, will conduct a General Election (the “Election”) as described herein, on Tuesday, November 3, 2015, at which there will be elected the following officers of the City of Houston:
Mayor

Council Member, District A

Council Member, District B

Council Member, District C

Council Member, District D

Council Member, District E

Council Member, District F

Council Member, District G

Council Member, District H

Council Member, District I

Council Member, District J

Council Member, District K

Council Member, At-Large Position 1

Council Member, At-Large Position 2

Council Member, At-Large Position 3

Council Member, At-Large Position 4

Council Member, At-Large Position 5

City Controller
The Election will also submit to the registered voters a referendum on City Ordinance No. 2014-530, also known as the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance or “HERO; and a proposition amending Article V of the City Charter to reduce the number of terms of elective offices to no more than two terms in the same office and limit the length for all terms of elective office to four years, beginning in January 2016:
Referendum and Ballot Language. In the Election, the registered voters of the City shall decide by voting "Yes" or "No" whether they are in favor of the following ordinance:
PROPOSITION NO.1
City of Houston, Texas, Ordinance No. 2014-530

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTERS 2, 15 AND 17 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES, HOUSTON, TEXAS, PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF PROTECTED CHARACTERISTICS IN CITY EMPLOYMENT, CITY SERVICES, CITY CONTRACTING PRACTICES, HOUSING, PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS, AND PRIVATE EMPLOYMENT

WHEREAS, the City Council finds that all persons living in, working in or visiting the City are entitled to be treated with equal dignity and respect and have the right to be free from discriminatory and unequal treatment; and

WHEREAS, the City of Houston seeks to provide an environment that is free of any type of discrimination based on sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, or pregnancy (“Protected Characteristics”); and

WHEREAS, the City Council finds that achieving and maintaining a discrimination-free environment is necessary to effectively serve the public by enabling the City to recruit and train qualified employees and to procure and provide services to the public; and

WHEREAS, the City Council finds that it is in the best interests of the City and its citizens to incorporate the nondiscrimination policy of the City into contracts entered into by the City for which it spends public funds; and

WHEREAS, the City Council finds that discrimination on the basis of Protected Characteristics in privately owned and operated public accommodations, including restaurants, bars, entertainment venues and places of public amusement, hotels and motels and public conveyances (“Public Accommodations”) results in the unjust exclusion of persons and a diminution of their dignity, respect, and status contrary to the public policy of the City and the Constitutional principles on which the United States was founded; and

WHEREAS, the City Council finds that it is necessary, appropriate and the proper responsibility of government to make discrimination in Public Accommodations unlawful in the City; and

WHEREAS, the City Council finds that discrimination in employment results in the unequal treatment of persons and a diminution of their dignity, respect and status contrary to the public policy of the City and the Constitutional principles on which the United States was founded; and

WHEREAS, the City Council finds that it is necessary, appropriate, and the proper responsibility of government to make discrimination in Private Employment unlawful in the City; and

WHEREAS, the City Council recognizes the rights of each person to obtain housing without regard to Protected Characteristics; and

WHEREAS, the City Council finds that discrimination in housing on the basis of Protected Characteristics is contrary to the public policy of the City and the Constitutional principles on which the United States was founded; and

WHEREAS, the City Council finds that it is in the best interests of the City and its citizens to make discrimination in housing on the basis of Protected Characteristics unlawful in the City; NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF HOUSTON, TEXAS:

Section 1. That the findings contained in the preamble of this Ordinance are determined to be true and correct and are hereby adopted as part of this Ordinance.

Section 2. That Chapter 17 of the Code of Ordinances, Houston, Texas, is hereby amended in its entirety to read as set forth in Exhibit A, attached hereto and incorporated herein by this reference.

Section 2A. That the following definition of employer in Section 17-2 of the Code of Ordinances shall become effective on the first anniversary of the effective date of this Ordinance:

Employer means a person who has 25 or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, and the person’s agent. The term does not include a person’s contractor or vendor with respect to the conduct of the contractor or vendor toward the employees of said contractor or vendor; the United States, or a corporation wholly owned by the government of the United States; a bona fide private membership club which is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954; the state, a state agency, or political subdivision; or a religious organization.”


That the following definition of employer in Section 17-2 of the Code of Ordinances shall become effective on the second anniversary of the effective date of this Ordinance:

Employer means a person who has 15 or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, and the person’s agent. The term does not include a person’s contractor or vendor with respect to the conduct of the contractor or vendor toward the employees of said contractor or vendor; the United States, or a corporation wholly owned by the government of the United States; a bona fide private membership club which is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954; the state, a state agency, or political subdivision; or a religious organization.”


Section 3. That Article XIV of Chapter 2 of the Code of Ordinances, Houston, Texas, is hereby repealed and reserved.

Section 4. That Section 15-17 of the Code of Ordinances, Houston, Texas, is hereby amended to read as set forth in Exhibit B, attached hereto and incorporated herein by this reference.

Section 5. That, if any provision, section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase of this Ordinance, or the application of same to any person or set of circumstances, is for any reason held to be unconstitutional, void or invalid, the validity of the remaining portions of this Ordinance or their application to other persons or sets of circumstances shall not be affected thereby, it being the intent of the City Council in adopting this Ordinance that no portion hereof or provision or regulation contained herein shall become inoperative or fail by reason of any unconstitutionality, voidness or invalidity of any other portion hereof, and all provisions of this Ordinance are declared to be severable for that purpose.

Section 6. That there exists a public emergency requiring that this Ordinance be passed finally on the date of its introduction as requested in writing by the Mayor; therefore, this Ordinance shall be passed finally on such date and shall take effect at 12:01 a.m. on the thirtieth day next following the date of its passage and approval by the Mayor.

PASSED AND APPROVED this 28th day of May, 2014.

Annise D. Parker

Mayor of the City of Houston
EXHIBIT A

Chapter 17

EQUAL RIGHTS

ARTICLE I. IN GENERAL
Sec. 17-1. Public policy declared.

It is the policy of the city that all of its residents and persons subject to its jurisdiction shall not be subject to discrimination based on an individual’s sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity or pregnancy.



Sec. 17-2. Definitions.

In this chapter:


Age means, for purposes of sections that address non-discrimination, 40 or more years of age.
City employment and employment opportunities shall include, but are not limited to, decisions that adversely affect an employee’s pay, status, position or assignment, including opportunities for overtime pay and advancement, and includes decisions regarding recruitment, job application procedures, referrals for employment, selection and hiring, appointment, compensation, promotions, demotions, transfers, layoffs, recalls, training, educational opportunities, and all forms of discipline, including indefinite suspensions/terminations.
Contractor means any person, including subcontractors, who through a contract or other arrangement, has received, is to receive, or is receiving public funds for work, goods, or services delivered or rendered to the city.
Disability means a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits at least one major life activity, a record of the impairment, or being regarded as having the impairment. This term does not include the current, illegal use of or addiction to a controlled substance as defined under state and federal law.
Discriminate means to intentionally distinguish, differentiate, separate, or segregate to the advantage or disadvantage of any person on the basis of a protected characteristic, except as required by federal or state law or court order.
Employee means an individual employed by an employer.
Employer means a person who has 50 or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, and the person’s agent. The term does not include a person’s contractor or vendor with respect to the conduct of the contractor or vendor toward the employees of said contractor or vendor; the United States, or a corporation wholly owned by the government of the United States; a bona fide private membership club which is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954; the state, a state agency, or political subdivision; or a religious organization.
Familial status means the status of a person resulting from being domiciled with an individual younger than 18 years of age in regard to whom the person:
(1) Is the parent or legal custodian; or
(2) Has the written permission of the parent or legal custodian for domicile with the individual; or
(3) Is in the process of obtaining legal custody.
Gender identity means an individual’s innate identification, appearance, expression or behavior as either male or female, although the same may not correspond to the individual’s body or gender as assigned at birth.
Genetic information means information about an individual’s genetic tests, the genetic tests about an individual’s family members, and the manifestation of disease or disorder in family members of an individual. The term does not include the age, sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or disability of any individuals.
Inspector general means the person in charge of the Office of the Inspector General created by Executive Order No. 1-39 or his or her designee.
Military status means a person who is serving or has served in the uniformed service, and who, if discharged, was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable. Uniformed services is defined as set forth in 20 C.F.R. 1002.5(o).
Person means an individual, corporation, partnership, association, labor organization, legal representative, mutual company, joint-stock company, trust, unincorporated organization, trustee or receiver.
Place of public accommodation means every business with a physical location in the city, whether wholesale or retail, which is open to the general public and offers for compensation any product, service, or facility. The term includes, but is not limited to, all hotels, motels, restaurants, bars, lounges, nightclubs or cabarets where food or beverages are sold or offered for sale, theaters, washaterias, bowling alleys, skating rinks, golf courses, and other places of public amusement, and all public conveyances, as well as the stations or terminals thereof. For purposes of article IV of this chapter, the leasing office, visitor parking area and model units of a multi-family housing facility shall not be considered a place of public accommodation.
Protected characteristic means an individual’s sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity or pregnancy.
Religion means all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief.
Religious organization means:
(1) A religious corporation, association, social service or society;
(2) A school, college, university, or other educational institution or institution of learning, if the institution is, in whole or in substantial part, controlled, managed, owned, or supported by a religion, religious corporation, association or society; or the curriculum of the institution is directed toward the propagation of a religion; or
(3) A nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised, or controlled by a religious corporation, association, social service or society.
Retaliation, in connection with employment, means conduct or decisions that a reasonable employee would view as materially adverse and whose purpose or effect is to discourage employees from exercising their rights under this article, city policy, or law.
Sex means the biological differences between men and women, and gender.
Sexual orientation means the actual or perceived status of a person with respect to his or her sexuality.
ARTICLE II. CITY EMPLOYMENT AND CITY SERVICES
Sec. 17-31. Prohibition against discrimination in city employment.

It is the policy of the city that the city will not discriminate in city employment and employment opportunities on the basis of any protected characteristic. For purposes of this section, discriminate includes, but is not limited to, any act or demonstration of preference or antipathy in making decisions regarding employment that adversely affect an employee’s pay, status, position, or assignment, including opportunities for overtime pay and advancement, and includes decisions regarding recruitment, job application procedures, referrals for employment, selection and hiring, appointment, compensation, promotions, demotions, transfer, retention, layoffs, recalls, training, educational opportunities, and all forms of discipline, including indefinite suspensions/terminations.


This policy applies to city officials and all employees regardless of civil service status, classification, pay grade, length of employment, or full-time or part-time status.
Sec. 17-32. Prohibition against discrimination in city services.

It is the policy of the city that the city will not discriminate on the basis of any protected characteristic in authorizing or making available the use of city facilities or in the delivery of city programs, services or activities.


Sec. 17-33. Enforcement.

(a) It is the policy of the city that no employee or official of the city shall engage in any act or practice prohibited by this article.


(b) An employee or official found in violation of this article shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including indefinite suspension/termination or removal from office pursuant to applicable city ordinances, city charter provisions, executive orders, administrative procedures, laws, and policies. An employee who believes he or she has been subject to discrimination in violation of this article shall submit a written complaint to the inspector general not later than 180 days after the alleged violation occurs.
(c) The provisions of this article shall be enforced pursuant to applicable city ordinances, city charter provisions, executive orders, administrative procedures, laws, and policies.
(d) The office of the inspector general is responsible for investigating all facts and circumstances that reasonably appear to constitute a violation of this article.
Sec. 17-34. Retaliation prohibited.

No city employee or official shall retaliate against any person who has filed a complaint in good faith pursuant to this section. If the inspector general determines that retaliation has occurred, the city employee or official shall be subject to discipline, up to and including indefinite suspension.


ARTICLE III. CONTRACTING
Sec. 17-41. Prohibition against discrimination in awarding contracts.

It is the policy of the city that the city will not discriminate in the consideration, award, or administration of any contract entered into between the city and any person (including, but not limited to, any contractor, vendor, supplier, lessee, or lessor) for the provision of any works, goods, or services of any type to the city. The language of section 15-17 of this Code shall be included in every contract entered into by the city. The language of this article shall not be interpreted to conflict with provisions of chapter 15 of this Code.


Sec. 17-42. Prohibition against discrimination in the performance of a contract; penalties; retaliation prohibited.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any contractor to discriminate against any person on the basis of any protected characteristic, except as required by federal or state law or court order, in the performance of any contract entered into with the city. A person employed in connection with a city contract who has a good faith belief that he or she is the victim of discrimination may file a complaint with the inspector general on a form prescribed by the inspector general. Any person claiming to be aggrieved by an unlawful employment action in connection with the performance of a city contract shall file a verified complaint in writing no later than 180 days after the alleged violation.


(b) If a contractor is found to have violated this section in connection with any city contract, the inspector general shall refer the matter to the city attorney for appropriate action to serve the best interests of the city, including the use of remedies provided by the city’s contract with the contractor.
(c) No contractor shall retaliate against any person who has filed a complaint in good faith pursuant to this section. If the inspector general determines that retaliation has occurred, he shall refer the matter to the city attorney pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.
Sec. 17-43. Investigation of complaints of discrimination in the performance of a contract; procedures.

(a) The office of the inspector general shall investigate the complaint and determine whether a violation as defined in this article has occurred. In addition to other investigative tools, the inspector general may take statements and inspect relevant records. If the inspector general is not able to obtain voluntary cooperation in connection with its investigation, he shall refer the matter to the city attorney for appropriate action.


(b) If the complaint is found to be deficient, the inspector general shall dismiss the case. All investigations conducted pursuant to this article shall be conducted in a confidential manner and records of any such investigations shall be confidential to the extent permitted by law.
(c) Upon completion of the investigation of the complaint, if the inspector general determines that the complaint alleges a violation of this article, the inspector general shall affirmatively engage in conciliation of the complaint. If no resolution is achieved, the inspector general shall refer the matter to the city attorney for appropriate action.
ARTICLE IV. PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS
Sec. 17-51. Prohibition against discrimination in public accommodations.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any place of public accommodation or any employee or agent thereof to intentionally discriminate against any person on the basis of any protected characteristic, except as required by federal or state law or court order.


(b) It shall be a defense to prosecution for discrimination on the basis of disability under this article that the alleged discrimination resulted from a condition or structural feature for which a variance had been received from the city under applicable ordinance or regulation. It shall also be a defense to prosecution for discrimination on the basis of accessibility that the place of public accommodation is in compliance with applicable state or federal law relating to accessibility.
(c) It shall be unlawful for a person to file a complaint in bad faith under this article. For purposes of this article, bad faith means wholly without foundation in law or fact, or done solely for the purpose of harassment.
Sec. 17-52. Investigation of alleged violations; procedures.

(a) Any person claiming to be aggrieved by an unlawful public accommodation practice shall file a verified complaint in writing with the office of the inspector general not later than 180 days after the alleged violation occurred. Multiple complaints involving the same incident and alleging the same discrimination shall be treated as one alleged violation for investigation and penalty. If the complaint states a claim that is within the jurisdiction of a federal or state agency, the inspector general may refer the complaint to the appropriate agency for further action and discontinue the investigation of the complaint.


(b) Except as to complaints that are referred to a federal or state agency, the office of the inspector general shall investigate the complaint and determine whether a violation as defined in this article has occurred. In addition to other investigative tools, the inspector general may take statements and inspect relevant records. If the inspector general is not able to obtain voluntary cooperation in connection with its investigation, the city attorney, in consultation with the inspector general, may request city council to issue a subpoena or subpoena duces tecum to compel the attendance of a witness or the production of relevant materials or documents. City council may issue such subpoena if it determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that this article may have been violated.
(c) If the complaint is found to be deficient or untimely, the inspector general shall dismiss the case. All investigations conducted pursuant to this article shall be conducted in a confidential manner and records of any such investigations shall be confidential to the extent permitted by law. The inspector general shall complete the investigation of the complaint no later than one year after the filing of the complaint.
(d) Upon completion of the investigation of the complaint, if the inspector general determines that the complaint alleges a violation of this article, the inspector general shall affirmatively engage in conciliation of the complaint. If no such resolution is achieved, the inspector general shall refer the matter to the city attorney for appropriate action in accordance with this article.
(e) No finding, conciliation or adjudication under this article shall be admissible in connection with the city’s licensing, permitting, or regulatory matters.
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