March 31, 2008
QUESTIONS FOR COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES NOMINEE
By: George Coppolo, Chief Attorney
Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) (CGS § 46a-52)
● The commission consists of nine members. The governor appoints five and legislative leaders appoint four (president pro tempore and minority leader of the Senate and the speaker and minority leader of the House each appoint one).
● Governor's nominees serve five-year terms; other members serve three-year terms.
● Commission oversees state agency that enforces anti-discrimination laws.
Questions for the Nominee
1. What is CHRO's primary mission?
2. Is CHRO primarily a law enforcement agency or is it primarily a civil rights advocacy agency?
3. Do you have any recommendations for making the enforcement of civil rights laws more effective and efficient?
4. Is CHRO's staff size sufficient to handle the volume of cases it receives in a timely fashion?
5. What role, if any, should a commissioner play in ensuring that CHRO investigates complaints in a timely fashion?
6. How long should it take, on average, to complete an investigation? Do you know how long it takes currently to complete an investigation?
7. What is the appropriate relationship between the commission and the agency's executive director?
8. How much power and influence should CHRO commissioners exercise over CHRO's day-to-day operations?
9. What are your views on affirmative action?
10. Is there any tension between affirmative action and the laws prohibiting employers and others from discriminating against people?
11. What role should affirmative action play in enforcing discrimination laws relating to employment, housing, public accommodations, credit practices, and state services and programs?
12. Should our employment discrimination law require employers to make special accommodations because of an employee's or applicant's physical or mental disability?
13. Under current law, human rights referees conduct hearings to determine whether discrimination has occurred. They also have the authority to remedy any discrimination they find. How much control, influence, or authority should the commission have over referees?
14. Should referees treat CHRO the same as other parties or should they give CHRO preferential treatment in any way?