The Iowa Civil Rights Commission enforces the "Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965" which is Iowa's anti-discrimination law. 'Me Commission is composed of seven comniissioners, a paid staff of 29, and more than 100 volunteers.
Our Vision Statement is "[to] provide the best possible services to Iowans in the fight against discrimination and in the promotion of equality throughout Iowa."
In the fight against discrimination, the Commission currently utilizes a four-pronged approach. (1) We process individual complaints alleging discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, credit, and education; (2) we educate the public regarding anti-discrimination law and the value of diversity; (3) we conduct tests to determine whether covered entities are following the law; and (4) we propose legislation and promulgate rules to clarify and improve the law.
During FY 94, the Commission processed more complaints than ever, in spite of an increase in new complaints. We more than doubled the number of our educational events. We greatly increased our testing efforts, again for the purpose of providing information and education to covered entities.
We are working on the passage of legislation that would make our law more consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act. We have revised portions of our Administrative Rules to clarify complaint processing procedures.
One of the keys to our success has been that improvements in our case processing have produced more completed cases. This in turn has increased the funds available from our federal contracts. This increase in funding and better utilization of all our resources has enabled us to enhance the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the agency.
Another key to our success has been the use of volunteers. This group of dedicated individuals has increased our number of completed cases, especially through mediated settlements. The initial time spent in training the volunteers to do their jobs has been a great investment. In return, the volunteers can feel the reward of their accomplishments, serve the people of Iowa, and gain knowledge and work experience for their own career enhancement.
But we certainly don't have all the answers! 'Me sear-ch for innovations, resources and people who can help us improve both the quality and quantity of our work is constant. We must continue to build positive relationships with all our customers. We must continue to strengthen the network of support for anti-discrimination law and the work of civil rights agencies across the state.