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Approved Minutes – May 18, 2018 Meeting of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission
I. Roll Call: Jackson (Chair), Oelschlaeger, Ordaz, Haugh, Kooiker (by phone), Lipski (by phone)
Staff: Director Johnson
Guest: Chris Robinson
II. Minutes from 3/23/18 presented. Motion to approve minutes by Oelschlaeger, seconded by Ordaz; motion carried.
III. Commissioners’ Reports –
a. Commissioner Jackson – attended the Interfaith banquet as a guest of former commissioner Alicia Claypool. One of the speakers was a minister from Ferguson, Missouri, who spoke about experiences and issues there and how she had experienced similar issues in other states as well. Commissioner Jackson commented that this demonstrates the fact that these issues exist all over the country, and the work that the ICRC does is important and Iowans benefit from the work we do.
b. Commissioner Lipski – spoke about the Mt Pleasant ICE raid and arrests of 30+ men accused of being in the U.S. and working illegally. Commissioner Lipski had spoken with SE Iowa LULAC Chapter President about how the community has been affected by the raid and arrests.
c. Commissioner Oelschlaeger – no official report, but spoke about the administrative law issues addressed in the recent Iowa Supreme Court case against the Iowa DOT about speed cameras and the DOT’s attempt to regulate the power of cities to operate them within city limits.
d. Commissioner Ordaz – nothing to report
e. Commissioner Haugh – nothing to report
f. Commissioner Kooiker – mentioned that he just finished hosting an exchange student from Israel who is Palestinian. His family has been changed by this experience. The exchange was through the IRIS program, which is seeking host families in Iowa. He will send information to commissioners who may be interested.
IV. Director’s Report – presented the Iowa Supreme Court case on jurisdiction that was published just this morning. It involved an employee who worked for a company with a presence in Iowa, but he worked in China. Director Johnson will send the case to the commissioners. The case addresses the purpose of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, which is designed to eliminate discrimination within the state. Second, Governor Reynolds has emphasized the importance of sexual harassment prevention training. All commissioners are required to take the online training and submit the certificate of completion to the Director. Director Johnson will send the link by email. There is currently one opening on the commission. If anyone has any suggestions, please let Director Johnson know. Requirement is that it be a man. Budget update: ICRC had a deappropriation of just over $10,000, and the currently pending appropriations bill for FY 19 is $1,198,266, which would have been less than 2% more than the final FY 18 appropriation.
V. Comment from the public – Mr. Chris Robinson asks what can be done to combat racism in Iowa. He shared a recent experience he had with law enforcement in Iowa. In this country, it seems sexual harassment is starting to be taken seriously, but racism is not. The Iowa community says it is illegal to discriminate, but it is still practiced on a daily basis. Mr. Robinson stated he is personally involved in fighting racism as the chairperson of Des Moines Human Rights, but he asks for the ICRC to help and be more proactive in fighting discrimination based on race. Commissioners discussed other possible action that can be taken by citizens, such as filing a complaint and seeking legislative solutions. Mr. Robinson shared his belief that the ICRC complaint process does not necessarily provide relief. It was suggested if he could have filed a complaint, but it would be time-barred at this point because there is a 300-day limitations period. The racial profiling legislation effort from the most recent legislative session was also discussed. The Commission thanked Mr. Robinson for coming forward and being part of the conversation, as well as for his support of the ICRC and efforts with the legislature. Mr. Robinson was also encouraged to attend the ICRC Symposium on the first Friday of April 2019.
VII. Next meeting will be July 27, 2018 at 2:00 pm, location to be announced.
Motion to adjourn made by Commissioner Oelschlaeger, seconded by Commissioner Ordaz, motion carried.