Commissioner Meeting Minutes

Document Text Content: 

 Minutes    Iowa Civil Rights Commission  Thursday, August  20, 2009 at 2:30 pm.

I.               Attendance—Claypool; Eychaner; Chapman; Morain; Gitchell (Witt by phone)

II.            Public and Press – Ted Coppock; Wayne_____  : MaryJane______; Gladys Clover; Jennifer Jacobs


III.           Approval of  June   Minutes --Approved as distributed


IV.           Legislative and other policy updates—based on a request from a member of media, the Commission went out of order to take up policy positions and the marriage equality positions


Alicia explained this is the time of the year to review policy positions. She opened up the meeting to the public.  Documents were distributed that had been part of previous email attachments.


Nancy asked how is it different from previous positions. Alicia answered it reflects the court decision.


Rick  M. explained we are not saying that a const amendment can’t be raised—that is the right of Iowans. Rick explained that such an amendment would clash with both the court case and the exisiting fundamental rights under the constitution (not an amendment, but actual original constitution language.)  


Ted Coppock—important that the Commission includes this in their minutes.

Alicia—important to update past positions. ICRC does not regulate marriage, but the marriage equality position goes to the values of equal rights.


Nancy asked for a clarification of Rick’s comments. Nothing needed to be added.


Rich E. noted ICRC positions from 20 years ago and the focus on hate crimes that surfaced from the economic crisis facing Iowa 20 years (and similarities to some of today’s rise in hate acts).  He also added that this statement respects all viewpoints.


Nancy moved; Rich E. seconded. Passed by voice vote. No nays or absentions.


Question from member of the public about ability to sue. The member of the public wondered what happens if a landlord does not know their tenant is gay.  After considerable discussion, he was recommended to contact Commission staff by phone or email.


V.            Commissioners’ Reports and Subcommittee Reports

Commissioner Alicia Claypool— participated in DVD project—1000 faces (on immigration reform); sponsored by Progressive States network) received grant for immigration work. See attachment.


Commissioner Debbie Gitchell—attended ICN on League, Diversity focus meeting in IGOV office;

            Met with VISTA’s. Debbie volunteered to be site supervisor for Ames


Commissioner Rich Eychaner — attended Diversity Focus in IGOV; work with Iowa Pride on statistical analysis of anti bullying law


Commissioner Mary Chapman— worked Fair;

Commissioner Rick Morain –  mentioned his employees’ attendance at the Fair


Commissioner Nancy Witt – Nancy,  we do  need your  report


VI.          Priorities –see attachments of priority efforts from 1988 and 2008

1.    Alicia asked about subpoena and budget matters. Ralph explained the anticipated flat or reduced budget.

2.    Federal laws—hate crimes; don’t ask/don’t tell/ENDA/ (ICRC has not changed its positions)

3.    Debbie asked about the 1988 priorities and asked Ralph to update them.

4.    Mary noted the value of the survey at the fair.

5.    Breastfeeding—wait until we receive more data on extent of problem in Iowa and lists of allies and opponents. Commission wants to be supportive, but is waiting for more specific proposal.. And does not want to lose sight of limited resources (Alicia)

6.    Federal bill—HELP act . Alicia asked the Commission to consider signing on.

                                          i.    Rich asked what happens to the kids right now and what would happen under this proposal—Rich wondered if there were some unintended consequences.

                                         ii.    Debbie moves we  add ICRC as a supporter to the state and local organization list. Rick M. seconded. Voice vote—all ayes. No nays. Passed unanimously.



VII.         VISTA update—we now have almost as many or more VISTA’s than state staff


VIII.        Next Meetings--   

1.    OCT 7 – . 3:30

2.    Dec. 10—3:30 hold  Dec.  17th.






Commissioner Report:  Alicia Claypool 

June 11 – Aug. 20, 2009



June – Aug.  Iowa Immigration Education Coalition:  Continued to work on the IIEC.   Several committees have been established (communications, education, fundraising, outreach and policy) plus the data collection/research committee continues to function.  Additional issue briefs are just about finished: economics update, impact of the recession on immigrants, immigration policy (how immigration law works/doesn’t work), and immigrants and education in Iowa


                        The Coalition had an op-ed printed July 31 about the realities of the current immigration system and why it’s important to know the facts in order to shape common-sense immigration reform.  Participated in weekly conference calls with similar state, local and national groups working on immigration reform.


                        The IIEC hosted an immigration forum in Marshalltown Aug. 11 and sent several e-newsletters with progress reports on immigration reform, new immigration legislation introduced and new reports about problems in the immigration detention system.


June 17         Attended One Iowa campaign briefing. 


June 19         Attended Interfaith Alliance’s Crossroads discussion on feminism in the modern church.


June 24         Attended LHRA ICN meeting.


May – Aug.    Attended 2 same-sex weddings and invited to two others but unable to attend due to previous commitments.


July 23           Met with Nate Monson for an update about the GLBT Youth in Iowa Schools/Safe Schools and the training they provide to educators.


July- Aug.      Participated in a DVD project, 1000 Voices, a motivational DVD directed to elected officials at the National Conference of State Legislators about immigration reform activities at the state level.  This project is sponsored by Progressive States Network.


Aug. 20          Worked at the ICRC booth at the Iowa State Fair.





Aug. & Sept.  ICRC Fair Housing Forums (Marshalltown, Perry, Storm Lake, and Urbandale)


Sept. 14, 7 pm  D. Huerta, Latina perspective on civil marriage.  Trinity United Methodist Church, DM


Sept. 19-20    Iowa Latino Festival, Blank Park Zoo


Oct. 1              LHRA ICN training and meeting, 10-3:30 pm.  Prairie Meadows, Rose Room, 4th fl.


Oct. 9, 8-5      Iowa Latino Conference, Grand View College


Oct. 9, 11:20 – 1:30  Friends of Iowa Civil Rights awards luncheon,  Des Moines Embassy Club


Oct. 19, 8-5    Iowa Mosaic Conference, Scheman Bldg, Ames