April 6, 1983

To the Congress of the United States:

I am transmitting herewith the "Civil Rights Commission Reauthorization Act of 1983''.

We Americans have come to share a vision of the Nation we want to be: A Nation in which sex, race, religion, color, national origin, age, or condition of disability do not determine an individual's worth. We can be justly proud both of the progress we have made toward realizing that ideal -- and of our recognition that progress remains to be made.

In my State of the Union Address on January 25 of this year, I emphasized the important role the Commission can play in assuring that we, as a Nation, keep our statutory commitments to fairness and equity for all Americans -- and the necessity that the Commission not be allowed to expire, as current law provides, at the end of 1983. In recognition of these goals, the legislation I am transmitting would continue the Commission's important work through 2003.

The twenty-year extension I propose today would be the longest in the Commission's history. I believe we must assure the continuity of the Commission's mission, while preserving the original Congressional intent that the Commission have a specified purpose and duration.

I am also proposing that future members of the Commission be appointed for specified terms, as is currently the case with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and similar agencies. This will assure that the Commission's membership is reviewed at specified intervals and provide for the introduction of new perspectives to the Commission's work.

Finally, I am proposing that the Commission's current authorities and procedures be continued intact. Since the Commission's founding, the existing statutory provisions have enabled the Commission to fulfill its unique function while avoiding duplication of activities performed by the EEOC, Department of Justice, and other line agencies.

I ask that this legislation be adopted quickly to avoid any uncertainty regarding the Commission's status and any resulting disruption in its important work.

Ronald Reagan
The White House,
April 6, 1983.

Note: The White House press release contained a copy of the draft legislation.