Attorney General Bill Lockyer Unveils New Plan to Combat Civil Rights Violations in California

Friday, January 15, 1999
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(SAN FRANCISCO)-Attorney General Bill Lockyer today unveiled a new "5-Point" plan to insure that state and federal civil rights laws are vigorously enforced in California.

"For the past eight years the state of California has done little to enforce existing laws that protect the civil rights of all our citizens," Lockyer said. "As Attorney General I will reverse the policies of division and exclusion which characterized the last administration, and I will instead resume the fight to end illegal discrimination and racism in California. We owe it to our children, the future of California, to fulfill the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. that people will 'not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

Attorney General Lockyer's "5-Point" plan to improve civil rights enforcement in California includes:

* More than doubling staff resources at the Attorney General's office for civil rights enforcement by increasing the number of attorneys from three (3) to six (6) and adding two (2) new investigators.

* Create a new section within the Attorney General's office dedicated exclusively to civil rights enforcement.

* Issue a new mandate to the civil rights enforcement section to aggressively enforce state and federal laws as well as engage in community outreach and education efforts to inform the public of anti-discrimination laws.

* Create "Citizen Civil Rights Commissions" to bring real-world expertise to the Attorney General on the issues of hate crimes, disabled access, and fair employment and housing.

* Ensure that the diversity of California is reflected within the Department of Justice.

Attorney General Lockyer made his announcement at San Francisco's Cesar Chavez Elementary School in front of two large campus murals of renowned farm-worker activist Cesar Chavez and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Lockyer was joined at the press conference by San Francisco Fire Department Chief Robert Demmons and several California civil rights advocates.

Lockyer also named Louis Verdugo to lead the new Civil Rights Enforcement Section. Mr. Verdugo, 47, has worked for the state Department of Justice for 22-years and has spent the last 15 years as a Deputy Attorney General specializing in civil rights law. Born and raised in Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles, Mr. Verdugo will be responsible for managing civil rights enforcement efforts at the Department of Justice.

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