36th Annual NBCSL Legislative Conference to Focus on Leading a United Front: Diverse Not DividedBy NNPA
Published: November 29, 2012
State legislators to convene in the Nation’s Capital with advocates, corporate executives, and public policy experts to discuss the nation’s most pressing issues affecting under-served and impoverished communities
(WASHINGTON, DC) – Black lawmakers from across the United States will convene at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., December 5-9, 2012, as the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) hosts its 36th Annual Legislative Conference. Themed “Leading a United Front: Diverse Not Divided,” this year’s conference underscores NBCSL’s commitment to the spirit of unity and collaboration, supporting the President and Congress. Over 500 legislators are expected to be in attendance.
“When we look at the urgent issues facing our state legislators each year, we can see the critical importance of embracing our diversity and making certain that all of us are included in the legislative process,” explained NBCSL President Barbara W. Ballard, Kansas State Representative. “President Barack Obama and Congress have always looked to the states for leadership on how to best serve the American people, because we live and work at the grassroots level. NBCSL stands ready to offer the country that united front,” she further stated.
The conference begins with a Youth Congress Day event where 250 students from schools throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C. will participate in a guided mock legislature designed to teach them about the legislative process while engaging them on issues most important to them.
NBCSL leadership will then convene a press conference on December 5. Members of the press are invited to hear updates on the conference schedule, words from high-profile speakers, and an overview of the conference. As a part of the press event, a Maryland couple will share personal testimony of tragedy and triumph, and how NBCSL policy efforts helped pass legislation benefitting families and communities across the country.
Throughout the conference, NBCSL members will discuss policy issues that they will later draft into substantive policy resolutions and then ratify. These resolutions will serve as the basis for both state and federal legislation and collaboration with community-based and advocacy organizations. Passed resolutions have resulted in enacted laws, regulations, and executive orders.
NBCSL members and a diverse group of policy experts will caucus on the following trending policy issues:
Attacking Obesity from the Start: Supporting Children’s Nutrition. Federal actions such as the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act and First Lady Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign serve as springboards on which to build state-led policies.
Building Stronger, Sustainable Communities. Building strong, sustainable communities will require connecting housing to jobs and transportation, fostering local innovation, and creating a safe and prosperous environment. Legislators will identify strategies for not only transforming community, but ensuring disenfranchised residents are included in planning, execution, and positive outcomes.
Nuclear Energy 360⁰: Secure Families and Safe Communities in the Wake of Fukushima Daiichi. Legislators will address disaster prevention and recovery, well-paying jobs that support families, as well as the environmental considerations of nuclear power as part of a sustainable energy portfolio. They will also examine how nuclear power expansion could impact the African-American community through greater contracting opportunities leading to further job creation.
Youth Violence: A Matter of Public Health. Legislators will approach youth violence holistically and strategically by focusing on prevention and intervention at the societal rather than individual level.
Ownership, Entrepreneurship, and Wealth Creation in the African-American Community. The Legislators will examine systemic barriers impeding college and professional athletes, musicians, actors, entrepreneurs, and others from receiving ownership and rights to their work and even themselves.
Health Information Technology: The Future is Now. Legislators will look at how Health information technology (HIT) makes it possible for health care providers to better manage patient care through the secure use and sharing of health information. HIT also allows providers to coordinate care better, helping doctors diagnose health problems sooner, reduce medical errors, and provide safer care at lower costs.
The organization is also to host a closing plenary titled, “Dismantling Barriers to Institutional Racism in the 21st Century: From School Discipline to Deadly Force.” The session embodies the conference theme by featuring a diverse group of notable experts in education, race relations, and law enforcement committed to identifying solutions within the education and criminal justice systems. Author and political commentator Dr. Michael Eric Dyson is scheduled to moderate.
“We are discussing real, life-changing issues through this event,” Rep. Ballard concluded. “From our Youth Congress to our policy sessions to our closing plenary, we will be looking at how a spirit of cooperation can make it possible for government to run smoothly and efficiently. The American people are not one homogenous group, and neither are we at NBCSL. We have always been inclusive, tackling issues that impact all Americans. We never forget our constituents at home and how badly they need us to be their voice. We pass legislation that benefits them, improving their lives, their families, and their communities.”
For more information on the conference, please visit http://nbcsl.org/conference2012/.
About the National Black Caucus of State Legislators
The National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) is a membership association representing over 600 African American state legislators from 45 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NBCSL members represent more than 50 million Americans of all racial backgrounds. NBCSL tracks legislation at all levels of government and actively monitors state and federal policy initiatives to provide its members with important information. Each year, NBCSL members pass policy resolutions that directly impact federal and state policy. The organization focuses on U.S. domestic policy and is committed to policies that positively affect all Americans. Learn more at www.nbcsl.org.