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After much deliberation Tuesday night, Springfield City Council sent to voters an ordinance that would punish businesses for hiring workers who are in the country illegally. KSMU’s Justin Lux was at the council meeting and has the details.
(Natural Sound: Crowd Chanting)
The evening began when about 30 protesters who oppose the ordinance gathered outside the old City Hall building prior to the council meeting. Marla Marantz came to voice her opposition to the proposal that will now go before voters.
“Well, I think we’re prepared to fight,” Marantz said.
Here's how it went down inside council chambers...A vote on the ordinance resulted in a four to four tie among council members, forcing the ordinance to the ballot either next February or March. Community member Marla Marantz says she's optimistic that opponents of the measure will prevail.
“I think that we will be able to form a broad based coalition of people in Springfield. Business people, university people, faith-based communities’ have been out in force," she said.
In the end, Jerry Wilson, spokesperson for the Ozarks Minutemen, the group that gathered signatures for the proposed ordinance, says he's satisfied with voters having a say.
“They still have an opportunity to decide and ultimately that’s where this needed to go. I agree with the mayor. This needed to go to the people to allow them to vote on it ,” he explained.
Before the final outcome, Mayor Jim O'Neal tried to broker a deal that he said was fair to both opponents and supporters of the ordinance. However, his efforts failed. After the council meeting, he said he did the best he could.
"It's complicated and I was just trying my best to be fair to both sides. I must've done a good job cause I think I made everyone made, so..."
So, in the end, councilmen Nick Ibarra, Bob Stephens, Jerry Compton and Thomas Bieker voted in favor of the ordinance, with the possibility of amending it while Mayor O’Neal, John Rush, Cindy Rushefsky and Doug Burlison voted against the ordinance.
For KSMU News, I’m Justin Lux.