Sunday, May 03, 2009

Juan LaFonta and HB521

Louisiana Legislator Juan LaFonta, from House District 96 in New Orleans, has filed a great piece of legislation that warrants everyone's support.

This legislative initiative, HB521, calls for the creation of "an advisory council to propose ways to eliminate
obstacles to the effective delivery of governmental services to Latin Americans."

Such an advisory council has long been needed. I can tell you from personal experience that the delivery of governmental services to Latin American and Latino residents of Louisiana suffers greatly from a lack of coordination. This advisory council would go a long way towards helping the Governor and his executive agencies provide much better and more efficient services to this growing community. Law enforcement agencies, state health agencies, the state department of education, etc., are having to contend with new issues and complexities in dealing with the Latin American and Latino residents of the state, especially recent arrivals.

Right now, HB521 is referred to the Committee on House and Governmental Affairs. It is on the Committee's agenda and will probably be scheduled for a hearing and debate within the next couple of weeks.

Rep. LaFonta will be hosting a public forum to discuss specifically HB521 this Thursday, May 7, 2009, from 7PM to 8PM, at the University of New Orleans Homer Hitt Alumni Board Room at 200 Lakeshore Drive, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Please try to make it out to this meeting. But at the very least, please support this legislative initiative by contacting your Louisiana Legislators in both the House and the Senate.

As some of you might recall, last year there were all kinds of legislative bills seeking to marginalize and ostracize undocumented Latin American migrants to Louisiana (and by extension, their documented friends and family residing in the state), while also seeking to criminalize those citizens who would have been good samaritans to such migrants. Thanks to the concerted efforts of many individuals and groups, every single one of these hostile and punitive bills was defeated. A strong message was sent to Louisiana legislators that Louisiana is a place that is friendly to its Latin American and Latino residents and workers, regardless of immigration status. In fact, this message was so strong that this year there seem to be no such hostile and punitive legislative bills on the docket. On the contrary, instead of such nasty legislation, there's LaFonta's HB521 which seeks to institutionalize the state's commitment to and interest in its Latin American and Latino residents. Let's punctuate the victories of last summer with the exclamation point of getting LaFonta's proposed advisory council established in this year's legislative session.

I'll keep you posted on this bill as it works its way through the current legislative session. Stay tuned!

1 comment:

D-BB said...

Hey Hucky, last time I want to a Mexican meeting some little kid wanted to introduce me to his 18 year old sister.

I can't begin to tell you the problems that arose from that but Swine flu was the least of my probs not to mention the 5 pesos she cost me.

I always have 5 pesos handy just in case..... if you know what I mean.