City Council Unanimously Votes to Expand Protections for Trans Chicagoans and Those Seeking Abortions

(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Chicago landlords and employers are now banned from discriminating or retaliating against Chicagoans who seek gender-affirming care or reproductive health care under a measure approved unanimously Wednesday by the Chicago City Council.

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The measure expands an ordinance approved by the City Council in September that permanently banned the Chicago Police Department from cooperating with probes into those who travel to the city for abortions or their doctors.

The measure was authored by Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd Ward) and the members of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus, and backed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

It will ensure that Chicago “remains a beacon” in the Midwest for those seeking reproductive care and gender-affirming care, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

The Chicago Commission on Human Relations now has the authority to investigate complaints of housing discrimination or retaliation. The commission will work with the city’s Office of Labor Standards to probe complaints of workplace discrimination or retaliation, according to the new law.

In addition, the new law prohibits employers from accessing information about decisions made by an employee or their family members regarding reproductive health care or gender-affirming care without their written consent.

The measure exempts religious organizations.

Chicago’s 2023 spending plan includes $3.1 million to help people access reproductive health care.

In other action, the City Council unanimously approved a proposal designed to crackdown on vaping by Chicago teens by doubling the fine for selling tobacco products to people younger than 21 to a maximum of $10,000 for each offense.

In addition, stores that realize more than 20% of their income coming from vaping products will need special permission from the Business Affairs and Consumer Protections and would not be allowed to operate within 1,000 feet of another similar store.

The measure also bans the use of electronic cigarettes in retail tobacco stores and requires the stores to keep records of tobacco and e-cigarette sales.

Authored by Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st Ward), the measure was changed significantly after it was introduced and considered by the City Council’s License and Consumer Protection. A final version of the ordinance was not available to the news media or public before it was approved by the Chicago City Council.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]

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