City Council approves two charter change questions for May primary

Philadelphia City Hall
Photo credit Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Under bills passed Thursday in City Council, Philadelphia voters will be asked at least two questions on the May primary ballot. 

Voters will be asked to eliminate gender-specific language from the city charter. For instance, Councilman Derek Green says, councilman would become council member. 

"To rectify an archaic but unnatural assumption that men and only men would, could and should serve in this August body," Green said. 

The change will recognize not just that women have become members. 

Amber Hikes, the director of the Office of LGBT Affairs, says it heralds the day when those with more complex gender identities may gain the office. 

"This legislation is an opportunity for the City of Philadelphia to pull up an extra seat at the table and invite trans, gender non-conforming and non-binary people to sit down," Hikes said.  

Voters will also be asked to make the Office of Immigrant Affairs - currently created by executive order - a permanent part of city government.

Cherelle Parker proposed a third charter change question that would ask voters to tell the state they want a higher minimum wage, but it would have no binding legal power.