Bozeman leaders vote on Black Olive, bathroom bill lawsuit - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Bozeman leaders vote on Black Olive, bathroom bill lawsuit

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BOZEMAN -

Two hot button issues come in front of Bozeman city commissioners for a vote, Monday night.

First on the agenda: the controversial Black Olive development, which commissioners will approve or deny in some form.

The five-story apartment building would be built in a historic area downtown and follows the “up not out” model the city and county have been implementing for growth.

But the project has met fierce opposition from area residents and Bozemanites beyond the neighborhood. They say the building would be obtrusive, and precedent-setting for high-rises around downtown Bozeman.

The City can approve the project, approve it with modifications or deny it.

After that vote, commissioners will decide whether the join a lawsuit against a proposed bathroom bill.

The tentative ballot measure, I-183, would require people to use public facilities according to their gender at birth.

Opponents of the bill say it is directly targeting transgender and non-binary people, and is in itself unconstitutional.

It would also allow people to police others on the bathroom they are using, and demand they show identification.

Beneath the surface, the bill would also prohibit cities from having non-discrimination ordinances, which protect gay and transgender people in hiring and housing.

"We're concerned both because of what it would do and also it would limit our ability as a city to govern ourselves,” City Commissioner Chris Mehl says. “From our point of view it’s two strikes, and so we're going to decide whether to join efforts to stop the bill.”

Mehl said if the city does not join the ACLU, they will consider joining the League of Cities and Towns on a potential lawsuit.

As of 8:50 Monday evening, the commissioners had not voted on either, as they heard lengthy public comment on both topics.

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