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City Council to Review Human Rights Commission Plans - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

City Council to Review Human Rights Commission Plans

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A Charlottesville city councilor is proposing a new draft of a controversial plan to create a human rights commission that would investigate allegations of discrimination in the city.

"I appreciate her efforts to come up with a middle ground; my concern is that the public hasn't seen it yet," said Charlottesville City Councilor Kathy Galvin, referring to Vice Mayor Kristin Szakos' third draft to a proposed human rights commission.

Galvin feels it could further delay council action.

"I feel we need to make sure the public sees it, hears it, understands it," Galvin said.

The city manager, Maurice Jones, put together an initial proposal to create the commission.

Later, City Councilor Dave Norris proposed an alternative plan - in which the city would contract with a third-party organization to investigate allegations of discrimination.

Szakos' new proposal is meant to meet in between.

Norris says the biggest sticking point stems from whether or not the commission would be allowed to enforce civil rights laws. He says his proposal would protect people's civil rights without crossing any lines.

"It's a less antagonistic kind of model with the same protection for people who feel like they've been discriminated with," Norris said.

One Charlottesville human rights activist says it's important the commission is allowed to enforce civil rights laws.

"We're really hoping that the city council, you know, acts, giving the human rights commission the fullest extent allowed by the Virginia Human Rights Act for Enforcement Capability," said Walter Heinecke, human rights activist.

City council will review those commission plans at Monday night's meeting.

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