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Domestic partner coverage isn’t happening

Fine for marijuana possession jumps from $50 to $500

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 4:56 p.m. CDT

MORRISON – The City Council took no action Monday on a request for insurance coverage for domestic partners of city employees.

A city employee who lives with a partner has requested the coverage.

A couple of aldermen suggested the coverage should be part of negotiated salary and benefits packages.

Alderman Scott Connelly balked at the cost to the city.

The city pays half of employee premiums, which comes to about $150,000 a year for health, dental, accidental death, disability and life insurance, City Administrator Jim Wise previously told Sauk Valley Media.

“Looking at our financial situation ... I have real problems with adding cost,” Connelly said.

City Attorney Tim Zollinger said the city is obligated to grant spousal coverage to those in marriages and civil unions, but not obligated to grant coverage to those in domestic partnerships.

The inaction Monday means the city cannot provide coverage to domestic partners of city employees, Zollinger said.

Also Monday, the council amended the municipal drug paraphernalia and marijuana possession ordinances to raise fines from $50 to $500, at the recommendation of Police Chief Brian Melton.

Officers would have the option to charge someone in possession of a “small amount” of marijuana or with drug paraphernalia with a misdemeanor or simply fine them for violating the city ordinance, Melton said.

“It would be at the discretion of the officer.”

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