Hundreds of Black State Lawmakers Convene to Pass National Legislative Agenda

    Dec. 5, 2011 13:37 UTC

    Hundreds of Black State Lawmakers Convene to Pass National
    Legislative Agenda

    More than 350 members of the National Black Caucus of State
    Legislators (NBCSL) will meet in Chicago, Illinois, December 7 – 11,
    2011, to learn about the nation?s best models and practices across an
    array of policy areas. The theme of this year?s 35th Annual
    Legislative Conference is ?Seeing Beyond ? State Leadership,
    National Progress.?
    NBCSL members will leave the conference
    armed with legislative ideas they can then take to their respective
    Capitols in the upcoming legislative sessions.

    NBSCL President, Representative Barbara W. Ballard (KS), says state
    lawmakers have to be ?warriors? on behalf of the people they serve,
    ensuring that critically important issues for African Americans are a
    part of the national dialogue, ?We are on the frontlines in the battle
    to bring jobs and a better quality of life to our constituents. The
    issues we deal with are life and death, and this conference will provide
    a framework for national progress.?

    The conference will be held at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel in
    Chicago, Illinois. During the four-day meeting, legislators from nearly
    every state and the U.S. Virgin Islands will tackle issues that pose
    challenges for the African-American community in particular and for
    America as a whole.

    Representative Will Davis (IL), Chair, Illinois Black Caucus, says this
    meeting is critically important because of the challenges
    African-American communities are facing, ?We want to make sure the
    voices of African-American state legislators are heard in Washington,
    D.C. The problems in our communities are real and we need national focus
    on them.?

    Discussion topics include the following:

    • Information Technology and The Affordable
      Health Care Act
      ?Successful implementation of the
      Affordable Care Act will rely on the use of technology to make medical
      records and information portable. $16 billion dollars in grants were
      allocated to states for the rapidly growing Health Information
      Technology (HIT) industry. NBCSL members will discuss how states can
      best use those dollars to increase access to quality, affordable
      health care, and address disparity between whites and minorities in
      HIT workforce participation.
    • Financing Large-Scale Transportation Projects
      As federal funding for transit is more limited and states are
      strapped for cash, state lawmakers search for alternatives to fund
      important transit projects to support commerce and industry in their
    • Urban Agriculture ?NBCSL
      will discuss the need to create partnerships between rural and urban
      America to develop healthy nutrition alternatives for our most
      vulnerable populations, including the promotion of urban farming and
      farmer?s markets.
    • Education Disparities ?Legislators
      will address the greatest barriers impeding successful college
      completion. Of all students who enter a four-year degree program, it
      is estimated that only 57% graduate within 6 years. For African
      Americans, graduation rates decline to 40%.

    Media Opportunities for Interviews


    ? Press Conference: Black State Lawmakers Convene to Pass National
    Legislative Agenda


    Wednesday, December 7, 2011, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. CDT


    Renaissance Hotel, One West Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL, Grand
    Ballroom, Salon 3


    Announcements from:
    — Representative Will Davis (IL), Chair, Illinois Black Legislative
    Caucus, Inc.
    — Representative Barbara W. Ballard (KS), President, NBCSL
    — Representative Joe Armstrong (TN), President-Elect, NBCSL
    — Dwayne Bryant, Motivational Speaker, Inner Vision International,
    — Tony Sculfield, Comedian and Radio Personality

    About the National Black Caucus of State

    The National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) is a membership
    association representing over 600 African American state legislators
    hailing 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
    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


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    Source: National Black Caucus of State Legislators