Latino Group Prioritizes Workplace Safety This Legislative Session

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Mitch Henry, LULAC Iowa’s state lobbyist. Photo by Tar Macias / Hola Iowa

By Kassidy Arena, Iowa Public Radio News

Iowa leaders of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) decided their number one priority for this legislative session is improving workplace safety.

Mitch Henry, LULAC’s state lobbyist, said they will focus especially on meatpacking plants, access to the COVID-19 vaccine and enforcing guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He said as of now, that consists of preventing “ugly bills.”

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LULAC Iowa Leadership

“Our hope this session is that there’s no, how should I say it, ugly legislation that gets through,” Henry said. “I mean, it’s kind of like trying to prevent the bad stuff getting through right now.”

He said LULAC will also push for a tort reform, which would make it easier for workers to prove employer negligence.

But Henry said the largest obstacle to achieving LULAC’s legislative goals this session is reaching across the political aisle and getting the chance to talk to lawmakers. He said with a Republican majority, that may be a little more difficult.

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“We have to be strong, you know, we have to be realistic, too. And hopefully, with the elections coming up not this coming year, but the year after, we can get some changes out there,” Henry said.

Some other goals LULAC named include improving voter rights across the state. On the local level, Henry said LULAC will work on racial profiling ordinances and adding to the number of Latino leaders in city councils and school boards.

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To make sure all of these goals are successful, Henry said LULAC will team up with other minority groups and organizations.

“If we keep moving forward and adding other allies, we can be a powerful force, both locally and statewide,” Henry said.

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LULAC leaders will meet again in early February to reevaluate their legislative platform and priorities, where Henry said they will have to work through a “gamut of issues.”

“Sometimes we just kind of cross our fingers and hope for best, but the louder we speak, the more successful we are,” Henry said.

Henry expects LULAC will be successful in pushing through some bills with the help of more than 600 members across Iowa.

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