DEMOCRACIA May 2011 Democracia & IN THIS ISSUE: Allies Help Stop Florida’s Democracia & Allies Help Stop Florida’s“Show Me Your Papers” Bill “Show Me Your Papers” BillLast week, the Florida legislature adjourned before it Timeline: The Evolution and Demise ofcould pass either of the controversial anti-immigrant SB2040bills being pushed in both chambers, S.B. 2040 andH.B. 7089. Just one month ago, it would have beendifficult to predict the bills’ demise given the fact that Social Security: ¡Tutwo of the legislature’s more prominent Hispanic Futura Cuenta! Eventmembers, House Majority Leader Carlos Lopez-Cantera, and Senator Anitere Flores (author of PA and FL Trying toSB2040) were championing the bills in both houses. In suppress your vote?recent weeks, however, that dynamic began to shift,as a result of a multi-station Spanish language ad cam-paign organized by Democracia, America’s Voice Edu- Democracia’s Newcation Fund, and SEIU that targeted Flores and Lopez- Nevada State DirectorCantera and flooded South Florida airwaves.
Timeline: The Evolution and Demise of SB2040 Latinos and Social Security: ¡Tu Futura Cuenta! Hispanic seniors from the Philadelphia area gathered at Congreso de Latinos Unidos Pictured at podium is Democracia U.S.A. office earlier this month (May 3, 2011) to dis- National Deputy Director, cuss potential cuts to Social Security—a pro- gram many of them rely on as the primary source of income. The event, organized by Congreso, National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Latinos for a Secure Retirement, and Democracia U.S.A., featured a panel dis-cussion about the impact cuts would have on our communities most vulnerable.Many elderly Latinos count on Social Security as their sole source of income, makingthem particularly than vulnerable to any proposed cuts. Not only does the programprovide an important social safety net, it contributes to local economies. In
Philadelphia, Social Security contributes more than $2.9 billion to the city’s economy bypaying benefits to more than 243,000 residents. Social Security also has powerful anti-poverty effects. Of Latino who currently receive Social Security, 19.2% are consideredpoor; without it, that percentage would sharply rise to 50% of elderly Latinos.For more information on the impact of Social Security on Latinos, visitNCLR: www.NCLR.org Democracia & Allies Help Stop Florida’s “Show Me Your Papers” Bill (Cont.)The campaign urged the community to mobilize against Flores’ sponsorship and Lopez-Cantera’s support of the anti-immigrant bills; eventually leading Lopez-Cantera to takea more public position against the measures and Flores to vote against her own pro-posal.“The people of the State of Florida certainly made their voices heard throughout thisprocess. It is clear that these bills would have been devastating to the state’s economyand would have marginalized entire communities of people,” said Jorge Mursuli, Presi-dent of Democracia Inc.“Had the bills passed with the backing and sponsorship of two high ranking Hispaniclegislators, it would have sent the wrong message and created a dangerous precedent,fueling similar efforts in other states,” added Mursuli.“We cannot continue to allow immigration to be used as a political wedge issue; politi-cians know full well that most of these bills don’t pass the legal litmus test and will bechallenged. If they are interested in finding real solutions to the immigration issuethey should join efforts to support our federal government and our nationally electedleadership to pass comprehensive reform,” concluded Mursuli. To hear the Spanish language ad: Click Here
Are politicians trying to keep you from the ballot box? In Florida and Pennsylvania they are.Florida and Pennsylvania politicians are conspiring to keep you from the votingbooth. How? Just last week, the Florida state legislature approved HB 1355, a billthat serves to disenfranchise Florida voters and discourages their participation inthe democratic process. The provisions contained in the bill shorten the periodavailable for early voting in the State, making it more difficult for residents to updatenew addresses, and require a 48 hour turn around for groups conducting third partyvoter registration.Policymakers are attempting to find ways to cut voters out of the process, particu-larly young people and members of our military who are very mobile and change ad-dresses with more frequency. The attempt to narrow down the turn-around windowfor third party voter registration groups, and the provisions aimed to drastically cutthe early voting period, are surely targeted at keeping minority voters out of theprocess. Why? So that incumbents can keep themselves in office. The bill is await-ing Governor Rick Scott’s signature and Democracia urges its members to call theGovernor and tell him not to sign the bill into law. You can reach Governor Scott at:850-488-7146In Pennsylvania, this week, the Pennsylvania House State Government Committeepassed House Bill 934, which would suppress the votes of Pennsylvania citizens. Thecommittee voted in support of requiring voters to show government-issued photoidentification in order to cast a ballot, something that a substantial number of Penn-sylvania citizens do not possess.In a letter sent to Committee Chairman Rep. Daryl D. Metcalfe before the vote, Fer-nando Trevino-Martinez, Democracia’s Northeast Regional Director, expressed:“Democracia, Inc. believes that voting is a fundamental right of every U.S. citizen andthat the freedom to participate in electing our leaders lies at the very foundation of ourdemocracy. We support reducing barriers to voter participation and a strong and ac-tive citizenry, and we oppose any efforts that would hinder an individual from exercis-ing his or her right to vote”.
Trevino-Martinez added “Democracia Inc. believes that in the midst of a seri- ous budget crisis, Pennsylvania law- makers should not create a new multi- million dollar program which also sad- dles local governments with additional administrative obligations and ex- penses”. States that have passed similar voter suppression legislation have needed to increase spending on elections by Pictured from left to as much as 50 percent as a result. right, Pennsylvania State representatives The state of Indiana has spent over Daryl Metcalfe (R) $10 million dollars since 2007 to pro- and Angel Cruz (D) vide free photo IDs to citizens and an additional $2 million to educate vot- ers about the change in the law."With Pennsylvania facing a $4 billion budget deficit for 2011-2012, now is not thetime to create a costly, new government program, especially one that will make it diffi-cult for law-abiding citizens to exercise their right to vote," said Trevino-Martinez."This, despite the fact that the bills advocates have provided no evidence that voterimpersonation is a problem."A similar letter was sent to State Rep. Angel Cruz, co-sponsor of the bill and the onlyHispanic member of the PA legislature. Even when Rep. Cruz argues that this billwould “protect the Latino vote from election fraud”, at a hearing in March supportersof HB 934 failed to provide any proof of the kind of election fraud that the bill wouldsupposedly prevent.Democracia, Inc. calls on State Rep. Angel Cruz, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe and all their col-leagues in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, to reject HB 934 as an unnec-essary and financially wasteful piece of legislation that will suppress the right ofPennsylvania citizens to participate in electing their leaders. Call Rep. Angel Cruz:215-291-5643 and Rep. Metcalfe: (717) 783-1707
Democracia is Honored to Introduce Our Nevada State Director: Fernando RomeroFernando Romero, is a native of El Paso, Texasand a 44-year resident of Las Vegas, Nevada,where for forty-two of those years he has ac-tively participated in numerous education, so-cial and political organizations with the goalof informing, educating andempowering the Hispanic community.Fernando is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where in 1969 he co-founded the UNLV Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and one year later,founded the Student Organization of Latinos.His active community involvement started in 1969 when he volunteered to directthe Nevada Association of Latin Americans social service and employment agency.That same year, his involvement in politics commenced when he joined a corps ofvolunteers who worked feverishly on behalf of Harry Reid, candidate for Lt. Gover-nor (and presently Majority Leader in the U.S. Senate).Fernando has also worked on two presidential, three federal senatorial and threegubernatorial election campaigns.He has received numerous honors and awards that include the following:“Outstanding Young Men of America”, Jaycees (1975)“Public Service Award” Latin Chamber of Commerce“Arturo Cambeiro Hispanic of the Year Award”, Latin Chamber of Commerce “Distinguished Service Award”, Probono Project, Clark County Bar Association Fernando is married to Maria Guadalupe and have a son, Erick. Fernando has three other children, Miguel, Eva and Anthony.