OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma City Council is considering reestablishing the city’s Human Rights Commission after it was dissolved nearly 30 years ago.
Among other duties, the Human Rights Commission will be responsible for addressing alleged harm to people who have been discriminated against because of their race, color, religion, creed, sex, gender, national origin, age, familial status, genetic information, or disability related to employment, housing and public accommodations under the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Law.
Residents can review the proposed ordinance and weigh in by filling out an online comment form by June 21.
The public hearing for the ordinance is June 7 and the adoption is scheduled for July 5.
The proposed ordinance establishes a Human Rights Commission made up of nine members. Each of the eight City Council members will recommend to the Mayor one person to represent their ward. The Mayor will appoint one person at large, who will serve as the commission chair. One member must be a lawyer.
Initially, members representing even-numbered wards will serve for two years and members representing odd-numbered wards will serve for three years. Following the initial service, terms will be for three years.
Some of the Commission’s responsibilities include:
- Coordinating with the community, including public and private agencies, to promote human rights.
- Working with law enforcement agencies by referring violations or apparent violations of anti-discrimination laws to them.
- Mediating complaints alleging violations of the anti-discrimination law.
- Recommending studies or surveys that promote anti-discrimination policies.
- Producing an annual report of the commission’s activities.
- Establishing advisory committees to help the commission.
- Participating in at least one educational event annually that promotes human rights.
The commission will be staffed by a compliance officer appointed by the City Manager.
Mayor David Holt created the Human Rights Commission task force in 2020.
The City’s first Human Rights Commission met from 1980-1996.