OLR Bill Analysis

HB 5321

AN ACT ESTABLISHING AN ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN AFFAIRS COMMISSION.

SUMMARY:

This bill establishes a 13-member Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission within the Legislative Department.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2008

DUTIES

The bill requires the 13-member commission to:

1. develop a plan before each legislative session that outlines the commission's priorities for the session and strategies for accomplishing them;

2. work with state agencies to develop plans and programs for addressing areas that affect the Asian Pacific American community, including health care access, housing, job training, access to the legal system, mental health and addiction services, economic development, workplace justice and equality, immigration, education, English language instruction, international trade, and economic cooperation with Asian countries;

3. work with the Legislative Management Committee to establish a plan of short- and long-term initiatives based on the needs of people of Asian Pacific descent;

4. review, comment, and testify on any proposed state legislation and regulations that would affect the state's Asian Pacific American population;

5. advise and provide information to the governor and legislature on the state's policies concerning Asian Pacific American communities;

6. advise the governor and legislature on the coordination and administration of state programs that serve these communities;

7. maintain a liaison between the communities and governmental entities;

8. promote the political empowerment of the communities through voter registration, voting rights, and citizenship training;

9. encourage the communities' representation at all levels of state government, including state boards and commissions, and help develop these representatives, including by maintaining an accessible list of prospective appointees;

10. secure appropriate recognition of their accomplishments and contributions to the state;

11. support the state's efforts to develop international trade and cross-border economic cooperation with Asia and the Pacific Rim;

12. support state efforts to develop effective foreign language and cultural programs for education and economic development; and

13. prepare and submit to the governor and legislature an annual report on the commission's activities with any appropriate recommendations concerning the state's Asian Pacific American population.

The bill authorizes the commission to (1) use any available funds and enter into contracts to carry out its purposes and (2) employ necessary staff in compliance with the State Personnel Act.

MEMBERS AND MEETINGS

The governor appoints three members, the Senate president pro tempore and minority leader and the House speaker and minority leader each appoint two members, and the Senate and House majority leaders each appoint one member. The members must have experience in Asian Pacific American affairs and either represent the public or have expertise in the following areas:

Appointing Authority

Areas of Expertise

Governor

Education

Human services

Small business and economic development

Senate president pro tempore

Children and youth development

Health

Senate majority leader

Public

Senate minority leader

Environment

Arts and culture

House speaker

Housing

Public safety

House majority leader

Public

House minority leader

Transportation

Public

The governor's initial appointees serve staggered terms (one year for the education expert; two for the human services expert; and three for the small business and economic development expert). Thereafter, all gubernatorial appointees serve three-year terms beginning on October 1 and must have expertise in the same fields as their predecessors. All legislative appointees serve two-year terms. The appointing authority fills vacancies.

The commission elects its own chairperson and vice-chairperson from its members and meets as often as the chairperson or a commission majority deems necessary. Members are considered to have resigned if they miss three consecutive meetings or half the meetings in a calendar year.

Commission members are not paid; however, they may be reimbursed for necessary expenses they incur while performing their duties.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Government Administration and Elections Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

11

Nay

0

(02/25/2008)