With the limited number of Democrat sponsored bills that are introduced in the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature, on Thursday, the Chairman of the Arizona House Government and Higher Education Committee, Rep. Bob Thorpe and Vice-Chair Rep. Chris Ackerly worked with Rep. Juan Jose Mendez to see that his bill, celebrating Chicano History, got a fair hearing.
HCR2034, which proclaims February 2 through 8, 2016, as Chicano History Week in Arizona, not only received a fair hearing but passed unanimously by the Committee.
The bill: “Extends accolades of tribute, high praise, appreciation and recognition to North Americans and their descendants whose citizenship changed overnight from Mexican to American.”
Initially Mendez’s bill contained some disputed facts in the background resolution language, however, Mendez was willing to work with Republicans to craft a bill that reads:
Whereas, people of Mexican origin and descent have greatly contributed to the economy, development and growth of this state and the nation, serving the arts, business, media, industry, agriculture, education and society in myriad ways; and
Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Arizona, the Senate concurring:
1. That the Members of the Legislature proclaim February 2 through February 8, 2016 as Chicano History Week in Arizona to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on February 2, 1848.
2. That the Members of the Legislature extend accolades of tribute, high praise, appreciation and appropriate recognition to these North Americans and their descendants whose citizenship, under the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, literally changed overnight from Mexican to American.
Chair Thorpe stated, “I appreciated Rep. Mendez’s passion for establishing a Chicano history week. However, Rep. Ackerly and I were both concerned that, as it was originally written, the bill would not have passed out of our committee, let alone the House floor. Rep Mendez seemed happy and very willing to work with us to further craft his bill language in order to emphasize the many positive contributions that Chicanos have played in shaping Arizona, and the west. It is always a treat when Democrats and Republicans find opportunities where they can work together.”
“Rep. Mendez is a first generation American and a native Arizonan,” according to the legislative biography. “He attended Tolleson Union High School, received his associate degree from Phoenix College, and then graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Justice Studies from ASU.”