|Councilman Councilmember Kathy Patterson
BILL IN THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Councilmember Jim Graham
To amend the Human Rights Act of 1977 to establish officially the Commission on Human
Rights and to define the purpose, functions, composition, appointment, and organization of
Councilmembers Kathy Patterson and Jim Graham introduced the following legislation,
which was referred to the Committee of the Whole and Subcommittee on Human Rights, Latino
Affairs, and Property Management.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this act may be cited as
the "Commission on Human Rights Establishment Amendment Act of 2001 ".
Sec. 2. The Human Rights Act of 1977, effective December 13, 1977 (D.C. Law 2-38; D.C.
Code §1-2501 et seq.), is amended as follows:
(a) Section 102 (D.C. Code § 1-2502) is amended as follows:
(1) Subsection (d) is amended by striking the phrase "District of Columbia
Commission on Human Rights, as established by Commissioner's Order No. 71-224, dated July
8, 1971" and inserting the phrase "Commission on Human Rights, as established by
Title V of this act" in its place.
(2) Subsection (r) is amended by striking the phrase "District of Columbia Office
of Human Rights, as established by Commissioner's Order No. 71-224, dated July 8, 1971
" and inserting the phrase "Office of Human Rights, as established by Title IV
of this act" in its place.
(b) A new Title V is added to read as follows:
"Title V. Commission on Human Rights.
"Sec. 501. Establishment of the Commission on Human Rights.
"Pursuant to section 404(b) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, approved
December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 787; D.C. Code § 1-227(b)), there is hereby established, in
the Executive Branch of the government of the-District of Columbia, a Commission on Human
"Sec. 502. Purpose and functions.
"The Commission shall serve as an impartial forum for hearing and deciding cases
of unlawful discrimination in employment, real estate transactions, public accommodations,
or educational institutions, following a determination by the Office that there is
probable cause to believe that an act of unlawful discrimination has occurred. In hearing
and deciding such cases, the Commission shall follow the procedures set forth and use, in
its discretion, the powers and authority provided, in Title Ill.".
"Sec. 503. Composition and Appointment.
"(a) The Commission shall consist of 15 members, appointed by the Mayor and
confirmed by the Council, in accordance with the Confirmation Act of 1978, effective March
3, 1979 (D.C. Law 2-142; D.C. Code § 1-633.7).
"(b) The Commission members shall be residents of the District of Columbia who
have a demonstrated background or interest in human rights.
"(c) The Commission members shall serve three-year terms. The terms shall be
staggered so that 5 positions expire on December 31 st of each year.
"(d) The Mayor shall designate one of the members to serve, at the Mayor's
pleasure, as Chairperson of the Commission.
"(e) Any person appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of
the term for which his or her predecessor was appointed shall be appointed only for the
remainder of the term.
"(f) Commission members who began their service before the effective date of this
act shall serve the remainder of their terms.
"(g) Commission members shall serve without compensation, but are eligible for
reimbursement of expenses as provided in section 1108(d) of the District of Columbia
Government Comprehensive Merit Personnel Act of 1978, effective March 3, 1979 (D.C. Law
2139; D.C. Code § 1-612.8(d)).
"Sec. 504. Organization.
"(a) At the initial meeting of each year, the Commission shall determine its
organization and name its officers, other than the Chairperson. The officers serving on
the effective date of this act shall serve until the initial meeting of the following
"(b) The Commission shall meet at the invitation of the Mayor, the Chairperson, or
a majority of the members.
"(c) The Commission may establish subcommittees to review issues and make
recommendations to the Commission.".
Sec. 3. Fiscal impact statement.
This legislation will not have a fiscal impact because it simply codifies the
responsibilities of the Commission on Human Rights that have been set out by executive
order. The legislation does not mandate any new duties or responsibilities for the
Commission, which receives an annual appropriation as part of the District's financial
plan and budget.
Sec. 4. Effective date.
This act shall take effect following approval by the Mayor (or in the event of veto by
the Mayor, action by the Council to override the veto), approval by the Financial
Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority as provided in section 203(a) of the
District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Act of 1995,
approved April 17, 1995 (109 Stat. 116; D.C. Code § 47-392.3(a)), a 30-day period of
Congressional review as provided in section 602(c)(1) of the District of Columbia Home
Rule Act, approved December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 813; D.C. Code § 1-233(c)(1)), and
publication in the District of Columbia Register.