Lebanon City Council Pushes 'Welcoming Ordinance' To Voters

Jan 23, 2020

Lebanon City Hall.
Credit Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Voters in Lebanon will decide in March whether to adopt a proposed "Welcoming Ordinance" for the city.

The ordinance would limit city employees from working with or sharing immigration-related information with federal immigration authorities.

Lebanon city councilors considered the proposal Wednesday night, and voted 8 to 1 put the matter on the March ballot.

The city's lawyer raised questions about how a provision in the ordinance that would require the city to notify residents when immigration officials are present would be implemented, noting that this could be viewed as obstructing federal authorities.

Karen Liot-Hill, councilor-at-large, says one of the council’s concerns was over a provision prohibiting city employees from profiling, collecting or retaining information based on race, citizenship or immigration status.

She says that could conflict with the information polling stations need to gather during elections.

"So they actually have a duty to ask about people's citizenship status and to retain and collect that information,” she said.

If it's approved by Lebanon voters, the council would then work with supporters of the ordinance to address concerns raised by legal counsel before it could go into effect.