The Commission has the power and
duty to make recommendations to the General Assembly for further legislation
concerning discrimination. The General Assembly which met in 1974 adopted
two laws which amended the Civil Rights Chapter (S.F. 487 and S.F.
1265). In addition an Administrative Procedures Act (H.F. 1200) was
adopted by the Legislature. The Administrative Procedures Act takes effect
on July 1, 1975 and will affect the operation of all Iowa
administrative agencies, including the Civil Rights Commission.
Senate File 487 amended the Housing section of the law to include sex. Exceptions to the coverage includes rental or leasing of a housing accommodation where bathroom facilities on a floor of a building must be shared by the occupants.
Senate File 1265 added a number of new provisions to the law. (1) Power to issue subpoenas for 'books and papers' at the investigative stage of the Complaint process. (2) The Commission is permitted to seek temporary injunctions "when it appears that a Complainant may suffer irreparable injury as a result of an alleged violation." (3) The Commission may defer complaints filed with it to local Civil Rights Commissions. (4) The requirement that a complaint must be filed within 90 days of an alleged discriminatory act was changed to 120 days. (5) Consumer credit transactions and other loans were specifically added to activities encompassed by the law. (6) Qualifications for employment based on religion must be related to a bona fide religious purpose.
The inclusion of investigative subpoena power will enable the Commission to obtain pertinent and relevant documentary information during the investigative phase of the complaint process. This legislative addition will result in voluntary compliance with requests for documentary information and provide a means for the Commission to obtain information which is required from uncooperative respondents or other sources of information. Finally, this legislative inclusion will provide more information upon which to base a finding of Probable Cause or No Probable Cause as well as eliminate one element which caused delay in complaint investigation in the past.
The power to seek temporary injunctive relief will permit the Commission to take additional and necessary action when irreparable harm would result from a discriminatory act or practice.
The deferral to local commission section requires the promulgation of additional rules by the Commission to govern the deferral process.
In addition to the changes in the
law which it may recommend, the Commission must prepare and propose a budget
request in accordance with the regulations imposed by law. The two-year
asking must be submitted to the Governor in September. The Governor submits
his recommendations in late January to the session of the General Assembly
which adopts the Biennual state budget. The Governor may or may not adopt
the budget recommendations of the Commission. To date, no Governor has.
Typically, the General Assembly makes the final decisions on appropriations
toward the end of the legislative session in May or June. Thus, the ability
to make long and short range plans based on funds available is influenced
by lack of definitive knowledge until shortly before the beginning of a
Biennium. (July 1. odd-numbered years.)
Rule Making Authority
Pursuant to its rule making authority, the Civil Rights Commission has prepared and adopted rules. Rules or Guidelines adopted in previous years include: a regulation pertaining to sex segregated want ads in newspapers, Employee Selection Procedures (Testing), Rules of Practice, and Sex Discrimination Guidelines. During the past year and a half, the Commission has held three public hearings in advance of the adoption of new regulations pertaining to credit, disability and age discrimination. In addition, the Rules of Practice have been amended. Rules and Resolutions must be approved by the Legislative Administrative Rules Committee and the Attorney General after adoption by the Commission.
Rules which defined credit as a Public Accommodation were adopted by the Commission but were withdrawn from the Legislative Rules Committee after the General Assembly added a new subsection to the law with respect to credit. (Part of S.F. 1265). As a result, rule making activity in the coming year will include a development of rules in accordance with the changes in the law which add credit to the jurisdiction.
The law specifies that the agency should cooperate with other agencies or organizations, both public and private, whose purposes are consistent with the Civil Rights Law.
The cooperation with EEOC has been described in an earlier section with respect to Compliance activities and funding. Training of Iowa Commission personnel has been a part of that relationship with the EEOC.
The Commission cooperates with other state agencies with similar purposes. The Commission on the Status of Women, the Commission on the Aging, the newly organized Spanish-speaking People's Study Commission, and the Committee on Employment of the Handicapped are among those groups with which the Civil Rights Commission personnel must meet and cooperate on common purposes.
Certain state agencies, particularly
the Highway Commission, and the Board of Regents, have been conducting Contract
Compliance activities as a result of extensive federal funding. Certain
Equal Opportunity Activities have been added to the Department of Public
Instruction activities., including work in the area of school desegregation.
Exchange of information, cooperation and liaison with these functions is
a continuing obligation of the Commission and its staff.
The Civil Rights law states clearly that the state function does not exclude local laws on the subject. A number of Iowa cities and towns have enacted ordinances concerning Civil Rights. Other communities are served by a variety of unofficial advisory bodies. The state agency cooperated with these local commissions and advisory committees in a variety of ways.
Many Iowa organizations function on a non-profit basis in related areas of activity. A partial listing includes the NAACP, the Iowa Civil Liberties Union, NOW (The National Organization for Women), the Iowa Women's Political Caucus, WEAL (Women's Equity Action League), and LULAC. Other organizations such as the League of Women Voters, AAUW and many church groups are involved in study and/or action on Civil Rights issues. Many business and professional associations have committees devoted to how civil rights and similar statutes affect the particular industry or profession. To a major extent, the cooperation with these groups included providing published information, speeches and participation in other educational programs sponsored by such organizations. Speeches and panel program participation by Commission members and staff number in the hundreds each year.
Voluntary Affirmative Action
If a person or an organization wishes to voluntarily prepare an affirmative action program even though the organization or private firm has not been required to do so under Federal or State contracts, under a court order, or the terms of a conciliation agreement with any regulatory agency, such parties may request the assistance of the Affirmative Action Administrator of the Iowa Commission. In those instances, the agency will provide technical assistance, forms, and other information and guidance. Inasmuch as this function of the agency was instituted during the past year, knowledge concerning the service is limited. Use of the voluntary Affirmative Action Programs services will increase in the future, serving as another way in which discrimination can be reduced or eliminated.
Implementation of Executive Order No. 15
In addition to the legislative grant
of authority to process complaints and eliminate discrimination by education,
the agency has been charged with additional tasks. The Commission was assigned
the principal responsibility for implementing or supervising the implementation
of Executive Order No. 15, entitled "Code of Fair Practices,"
issued by Governor Robert Ray on April 2 1973.
That Executive Order requires in brief:
1. That the State of Iowa should serve as a 'model' in policies and practices with respect to non-discrimination.
2. The employees of state agencies shall be selected, assigned and promoted on the basis of merit alone.
3. That state agencies responsible to the Governor shall promulgate written Affirmative Action programs.
4. That the state employment service shall not fill discriminatory job orders, and further, shall refer such to the Civil Rights Commission for action.
5. That state educational programs shall be provided on an equal basis.
6. State services and facilities are to be extended on a non-discriminatory basis.
7. State licensing authorities shall take into account any violations of non-discrimination regulations when licenses are being issued or renewed.
8. State contractors are to be required to have written affirmative action programs on file.
9. All state agencies are required to report to the Civil Rights Commission.
As a result of the duties conferred upon the agency by the Executive Order, an Affirmative Action Program section was established in the agency and a director selected. Work which was authorized and described in the Code of Fair practices has begun, particularly with respect to the promulgation of state agency affirmative action programs. The first step in establishing affirmative action programs is the gathering of data. The Affirmative Action Administrator has devised forms and other materials which are to be used by the governmental units in analyzing the status of the workforce of the agencies, a sample program was circulated and other information was distributed. The data has been collected from the agencies and has been tabulated. The next step in the process is for state agencies to establish Goals and Timetables to further the policies and directives of the Code of Fair Practices. One of the duties of the Affirmative Action Administrator is to guide the state governmental agencies in their affirmative action activities. These activities are complex. The results of the various agency affirmative action programs will become apparent over time as future data concerning the composition of agency workforces is collected and the data reveals change. A report of progress under the Executive Order was prepared for the Governor and submitted to his office in June of 1974.