Dear Friends, Colleagues, Neighbors and Fellow Advocates:
The Mayor and City Council of Cedar Rapids are slated to hold a public hearing on December 6 about amending the local civil rights code. As you may know from attending workshops and focus groups, the changes include incorporating select ADA provisions and standards, forbidding housing discrimination based on receipt of SSI, SSDI, veteran’s benefits and other lawful sources of income, and providing across the board coverage for protected classes in all covered activities. The major changes are noted below and described more fully in the attachments.
If you are interested in any of these issues, please contact the Mayor and City Council, post a blog, email, Facebook message, tweet or other message to your friends and neighbors, attend the Dec 6 (and Dec 20) hearings, send a letter or written testimony, or compose a letter to the editor.
Here is link to the web page that includes contact information for the Mayor and City Councilors:
The Commission believes the changes are important in order to comply with state law, to continue receiving federal funds, to strengthen substantive protections and enhance local enforcement capabilities, and to signal that Cedar Rapids is an even more welcoming and inclusive community in which to live, visit, and do business. The amended code:
- Protects individuals from housing discrimination based on the person’s lawful source of income, including veteran’s benefits, child support, worker’s compensation, social security benefits, etc.
- Fills coverage “gaps” by extending civil rights protections to all protected classes of individuals in credit, education, employment, housing, and public accommodations. Lawful source of income protections only apply to housing.
- Holds designers and builders of multi-family dwellings and public accommodations responsible for meeting Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility standards until compliance is achieved.
- Provides for local enforcement of several Americans with Disabilities Act public accommodations provisions, including accessibility, readily achievable barrier removal, reasonable accommodations and other requirements. Applies to private and governmental activities and facilities.
- Spells out the rights and responsibilities of persons with disabilities to be accompanied by or live with animals that assist, support, or provide or perform a disability-related service or task.
- Protects individuals from discrimination based on association with someone in a protected class.
- Protects persons who file a complaint or lawfully oppose an unfair or discriminatory practice from retaliatory acts.
- Streamlines administration and enforcement.
- Extends the deadline for filing an administrative complaint to 300 days for credit, education, employment, and public accommodation complaints, and to one year for housing complaints.
For more information, contact the Civil Rights Commission, 425 Second Street SE, Suite 960 Cedar Rapids, IA 52401by calling (319) 286-5036, faxing to 319-286-5136, sending an email to [email protected] or visiting the Commission website, http://www.cedar-rapids.org/