Agenda Item 17
March 29, 2011
Robert H. Drummer, Senior Legislative Attorney
Public Hearing: Expedited Bill 5-11, Office of Human Rights - Human Rights
Commission - Reorganization
Expedited Bill 5-11, Office of Human Rights - Human Rights Commission
Reorganization, sponsored by the Council President at the request of the County Executive, was
introduced on March 8, 2011. A Joint Government Operations and Fiscal PolicyIHealth and
Human Services Committee worksession is tentatively scheduled for April 27 at 2:00 p.m.
Expedited Bill 5-11 would reduce the jurisdiction of the Human Rights Commission and
provide for the disposition of certain cases currently pending before the Office of Human Rights
and the Human Rights Commission.
In its report to the Council dated January 31, 2011, the Organizational Reform
Commission (ORC), in
recommended the County reorganize the Human
Rights Commission and eliminate the Office of Human Rights.
The full text of the recommendation is below.
a) Human Rights Commission (HRC) - Current Budget - $1,738,400 - The work of
the HRC in striving to eliminate discrimination, prejudice, intolerance and bigotry
serves a vital function. A broad cross-section of federal, state and County laws
protect human rights, and County citizens have access to federal and state channels to
specifically address those rights covered under federal and state laws. Recent
analysis indicates only a few complaints of human rights violations have been filed
regarding rights protected only at the County level.
ORC recommends that the Council and Executive move the adjudicatory role
of the Human Rights Commission to the state and federal governments, with the
creation of a Human Rights Ombudsman in the office of the County Attorney to
guide citizens to the appropriate authority and provide advice on options available