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Local Guide to Civil Rights

Table of Contents
  1. Local Guide to Civil Rights

Local Guide to Civil Rights

Note: For more information regarding Civil Rights, read the Guide to Civil Rights and the FAQ: Civil Rights

Policies and Initiatives
Elder Rights
Education Rights
Employment Rights
Housing Rights
Transportation Rights
Consumer Rights
Civil Rights Protections
Community-Based Laws and Legislation

Policies and Initiatives

A number of laws have been established to protect the rights of Americans with disabilities, beginning with the American with Disabilities Act and continuing with more progressive legislation. The resources in this section include some of the most informative websites related to laws that have established the right of greater choice for persons with disabilities.

Hawai`i Department of Education-Section 504
To review State of Hawai`i comments on the 504 law, go to this page of the Department of Education site.

Hawai`i 504
This site discusses section 504 and how Hawai`i interprets the law.

Hawai`i State Legislature
The Hawai`i State Legislature website provides information on recent State of Hawai`i laws. You are also able to track the legislative process and the status of bills in the system.

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Elder Rights

The elderly face issues that are specific to their population. These challenges are different from what other members of the community may encounter. Many elders are dependent on others for help with their daily living activities, transportation, and general health. Unfortunately, many elders are unknowingly mistreated by their caregivers. Mistreatment of those caring for elders is called "elder abuse".

The Elder Abuse Response
A video on how to deal with elderly abuse. Types of elder abuse include physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, and abandonment. Elder abuse is a crime.

Education Rights

No Child Left Behind Act
Felix Consent Decree
Reinventing Education Act (Act 51)
Section 504

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001

Hawai`i Department of Education
This site describes Hawai`i's plan for meeting the No Child Left Behind Standards. Also on this site is information about school choice and supplementary services.

Hawai`i No Child Left Behind State Coordinator
This site has contact information for the Hawai`i state coordinator of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Felix Consent Decree

The Felix Consent Decree (1994) was the result of a lawsuit in which the State of Hawai`i acknowledged that it failed to provide special education and related health services for children who needed them. The Felix Consent Decree requires that the Department of Education and the Department of Health establish a new system of care for "all children and adolescents with disabilities residing in Hawai`i, from birth to 20 years of age who are eligible for and in need of special education and mental health services."

State of Hawai`i-Felix Consent Decree
This site offers detailed updated information about the law.

Reinventing Education Act of 2004 (Act 51)

On May 6, 2004 the Reinventing Education Act of 2004 (also known as Act 51) was passed by the Legislature of the State of Hawai`i. The purpose of the act was to improve the educational system in Hawai`i. The following are thirteen main points aimed at improving student achievement in Hawai`i.

  1. Establishing a weighted student formula. The weighted student formula will help address funding issues. Under this system money is distributed according to student needs.
  2. Providing additional information technology to meet the needs of principals, teachers, and the school community councils.
  3. Empowering principals through a Hawai`i Principals Academy.
  4. Enhancing community involvement through school community councils and parent-community networking centers.
  5. Providing more mathematics textbooks.
  6. Limiting the class size in kindergarten, grade one, and grade two.
  7. Providing full-time, year-round, high school student activity coordinators.
  8. Providing additional support in the form of programs for students who need help to succeed in school.
  9. Establishing a national board certification incentive program for teachers.
  10. Enhancing teacher education and provides funds to train more new teachers.
  11. Reducing the bureaucracy that hampers the effectiveness of the department of education
  12. Improving the educational accountability system by reporting the progress of the educational system to the governor, legislature, board of education, parents, and the general public.
  13. Requiring board of education members to hold community meetings in their districts. To view a schedule of these meetings go to the Board of Education homepage and click on meeting notices

Hawai`i Department of Education
This site provides an overview of the law-along with the law in full text. It also provides opportunities to get involved, newsletters, and a listing of pilot schools.

Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act was enacted in 1973. It was an effort to "level the playing field" for persons with disabilities. The law was intended to prevent the discrimination of disabled persons who receive federal financial assistance, in public and private programs and activities.

Hawai`i Department of Education
This web page discusses the Hawai`i Department of Education's compliance with section 504.

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Employment Rights

Hawai`i Civil Rights Commission
The Hawai`i Civil Rights Commission exists to eliminate discrimination through enforcement and education of anti-discrimination laws.

Disability and Communication Access Board
The Disability and Communication Access Board serves as a public advocate for people with disabilities.

Hawai`i's Temporary Disability Insurance Law
The Center for Labor Education & Research (CLEAR) has a website that provides information on their site about Hawai`i's Temporary Disability Insurance Law.

Workforce Investment Act

The Workforce Investment Act builds upon section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act in that it provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities to be employed and self-sufficient. This act also works towards an increase in job retention, earnings, and occupational skills. By doing so, the quality of the workforce will improve and the nation will see a reduction in welfare dependency. The Workforce Investment Act provides increased flexibility enabling states to create programs using federal job training funds for youth, adults, and dislocated workers.

Hawai`i Workforce Development Council
The Hawai`i Workforce Development Council determines how the state will fulfill the purposes of the Workforce Investment Act.

This site provides a summary of the key principles of WIA.

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Housing Rights

The State of Hawai`i Executive Office on Aging
The State of Hawai`i Executive Office on Aging offers this web page as a resource on behalf of nursing homes and care home residents.

Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
The State of Hawai`i also provides the following resources on landlord/tenant rights through its Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

Hawai`i Fair Housing Office
The goal of the Hawai`i Fair Housing Office is to advocate for compliance with the Federal Fair Housing Act. This act prohibits discrimination on the basis of "protected classes," such as race or color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and handicap.

The Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i
The Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i is a non-profit law firm dedicated to helping individuals with their civil legal needs. They help individuals and families who cannot afford to hire their own attorneys. They have many areas of expertise including housing laws and rights. The following page will help you learn about your rights in Hawai`i, as well as what to do if you have experienced discrimination.

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Transportation Rights

State of Hawai`i Disability Communications Access Board (DCAB)
The State of Hawai`i Disability Communications Access Board (DCAB) offers transportation information on different islands as well as tips for travelers.

Consumer Protection Rights

Hawai`i Office of Consumer Protection
The Hawai`i Office of Consumer Protection is part of the State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. It investigates consumer complaints in the State of Hawai`i. At this website you will find downloadable forms and brochures. It also reports on the latest news affecting consumers and information for landlords and tenants.

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Civil Rights Protections

Hawai`i Ombudsman
Hawai`i Civil Rights Commission
Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office at the University of Hawai`i

Hawai`i Ombudsman
Hawai`i Ombudsman is an agency that investigates the complaints of individuals who have had their civil rights violated. This site also shows you how to file a complaint.

Hawai`i Civil Rights Commission
The Hawai`i Civil Rights Commission helps people who face discrimination. Its goals are to protect an individual's civil rights and promote diversity.

Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office at the University of Hawai`i
Contact information for the Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office at the University of Hawai`i is available on this site.

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Community-Based Laws and Legislation

Olmstead Decision

In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that under Title II of the American Disabilities Act (ADA), all states are required to place persons with mental disabilities in community settings rather than in institutions when:

  • The state's treatment professionals have determined that community placement is appropriate.
  • The affected individual does not oppose transfer from institutional care to a less restrictive setting.
  • Placement can be reasonably accommodated, taking into account the resources available to the state and the needs of others with mental disabilities.
  • The implications of this decision are far reaching and states have been encouraged to develop plans for implementing this decision. They must also report on how this will impact their unique needs and circumstances.

State Plan 2001-2006 by Committee Responsibility
The State Council on Developmental Disabilities has developed a plan for Hawai`i through 2006. This plan covers all aspects of the lives of people with disabilities. It also focuses on a life free from institutionalized and restrictive settings.

Olmstead Status: Hawai`i
Each state has been challenged to develop their own specific plan to implement the Olmstead decision. This site discusses the Hawai`i state plan.

Hawai`i State DD Statute
This site lists the State of Hawai`i statutes related to people with developmental disabilities, community-based services, and the establishment of the Developmental Disabilities Council.

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Last Updated on 7/6/2012

Friday, December 8, 2023