A quickly struck deal with the Idaho Department of Labor appears to have filled a funding gap at the Idaho Human Rights Commission.
Pam Parks, the commission’s director, told the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Friday that the commission can be folded into the Department of Labor without compromising its duties to enforce civil rights and anti-discrimination laws in the workplace, public accommodations, education and various transactions.
“The resources would be there to fulfill those functions,” Parks said. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”
Labor can replace state general funds Gov. Butch Otter has proposed phasing out over four years, said Parks and Labor Chief Deputy Director John McAllister.
“We think we can handle it for the next four years,” McAllister told the committee. “We can fit it in.”
McAllister said the Commission can be funded from two sources, interest on Labor’s $75 million reserve fund and a fund that collects penalties from employers who pay their taxes late or don’t pay their taxes and from recipients who collect benefits they are not entitled to.
McAllister said the deal came together after Otter’s budget office contacted Labor Director Roger Madsen on Jan. 4, seven days before Otter announced his proposed cuts.
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