Fairview Park officials are working on legal standards to make sure no one faces discrimination in the city.

City Council is considering legislation designed to combat or prevent discrimination against people and is looking at increasing the penalties for those who violate the law.

“We really don’t have anything right now which would address these type of issues,” said council President Michael Kilbane. “We need to get something in place which would help us deal with issues in this area.”

Kilbane said the legislation will help reinforce the message that Fairview Park is a diverse community that welcomes different people and groups.

“This legislation lets people know we’re committed to diversity in the city,” Kilbane said. “We believe everybody should be treated with dignity and respect whatever their race, color, sex, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, family or background might be.”

The Cuyahoga County Council adopted anti-discrimination laws last year and the Ohio legislature is considering similar legislation, Kilbane said.

“It’s a good time for the city to be putting these type of laws in place with other governmental bodies putting similar legislation in place,” Kilbane said.

The proposals also cover discrimination in housing, said Ward 1 Councilman Brian McDonough. The proposal will help maintain equal access to housing in the city.

“Having these types of protections gives us the ability to deal with potential problems which people could encounter when they are seeking housing in the city,” McDonough said. “It will help ensure anybody can get housing in the city without fear of intimidation because of their beliefs or characteristics.”

Any misdemeanor offense involving intimidation, such as criminal damaging or criminal mischief, could be increased by one class, meaning the potential penalty would increase. For example, a second-degree misdemeanor that now means up to 90 days in jail and/or a $750 fine could become a first-degree misdemeanor with a penalty of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

“Increased penalties are helpful as a deterrent,” McDonough said.

Contact this reporter at assoceditor@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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