There is a history of contradictory local and state opinions on the ability of local communities to add new protected classes to local anti-discrimination laws.

* In 1981, Nebraska Attorney General Paul Douglas concluded in an opinion that a city could expand its civil rights ordinance beyond what the protected classes found in state statute. However Douglas said a contrary interpretation was feasible and suggested that to be completely certain, there should be clarifying legislation.

* In 1982, Lincoln City Attorney Bill Austin said the city must expand the city charter, with approval from city voters, in order to add protected classes not found in state law.

* Current Lincoln City Attorney Rod Confer has told the mayor and city council they can expand anti-discrimination protection beyond state law by a City Council vote, with no need for a city-wide vote. The city has not released his opinion to the public.

* Friday, Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said that cities cannot broaden their anti-discrimination laws without asking voters to expand the city charter, or getting the Legislature to expand the state's civil rights laws.

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