Tuesday, November 19, 2019

California Latino Lawmakers spell out broader list of priorities: environmental protection, inequality among them

California Latino Caucus

Members of the California Latino Legislative Caucus – a collection of 22 Democratic state representatives – endorsed a bevy of proposals on Wednesday, underscoring their increasingly strong political clout and an eagerness to expand their reach into issues other than immigration. Efforts to promote clean energy and increase voter registration headlined the list of nine endorsements, showing a desire to broaden political portfolios as a launching pad for higher office.

“The issues that the Latino legislators care about are issues that matter to all Californians,” said Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville), chairman of the California Latino Legislative Caucus. And as California battles rampant drought and water conservation efforts, “other issues are definitely gaining salience,” said Matt Barreto, co-founder of the polling firm Latino Decisions.

Latinos now account for about 38 percent of the state’s population, and with those numbers only growing, so too are the voices of California’s Latino legislative leaders gaining traction. The caucus backed a proposal offering rebates for used electric vehicles to make them more accessible to poorer Californians, as well as legislation to create redevelopment agencies to finance housing infrastructure in poor communities – such programs were shut down years ago amid claims of corruption and wasteful spending.

“In order to ensure that they speak not just to their Latino constituencies but to statewide constituencies more broadly, they need to have their hand in a range of issues,” said Louis DeSipio, professor of political science at the University of California, Irvine.

You can find the full list of programs and proposals endorsed below:

  • Medi-Cal expansion
  • “Enhanced” driver’s licenses
  • Climate change
  • Redevelopment agencies
  • City council elections by district
  • Protect minors from having immigration status revealed in civil litigation
  • Clean vehicle rebates
  • Allow low-level drug offenders to get treatment before entering a plea
  • “Motor voter” registration

Los Angeles Times