A state Department of Hispanic Affairs? It could happen

Posted at: 02/04/2013 1:13 PM
By: KOB.com staff

A legislator from Dona Ana County wants to create a state Department of Hispanic Affairs.

Rep. Phillip M. Archuleta, a Democrat, has introduced House Bill 226, which would create a Department of Hispanic Affairs to “address growing challenges in the Hispanic community.”

Archuleta says he has support from Hispanic leaders from all over the state. According to a news release, Archuleta says such a department would enable policy makers to improve educational achievement gaps and health care access, and reduce poverty rates among Hispanics in New Mexico.

“House Bill 226 includes a proposed budget to study these issues and establish a baseline or ‘Hispanic Report Card’ that will be used to set the stage and establish milestones and goals which this Department will aim to address,” Archuleta said.

The secretary of the department would be appointed by the governor. The department would be paid for by $700,000 from the state’s general fund.

Senate Majority Leader, Michael Sanchez of Belen is a co-sponsor of the bill.

“The goal of this bill is very simple – to create an entity whose sole purpose is to focus on the many economic and social issues that confront a major demographic of our state’s population,” Sanchez said. “This isn’t the first time we have tried to pass legislation to create a Department of Hispanic Affairs. This is long overdue. The parties involved have all worked very hard.”

According to the news release, HB 226 has the support of LULAC, the Hispanic Roundtable of New Mexico, MANA, GI Forum, Hispano Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Teachers Association, HSOC, ENLACE Hispano, and AFL-CIO.