Originally established in 1978 as the Spanish Speaking Affairs Council and later renamed the Chicano Latino Affairs Council (CLAC), on July 1, 2015 the council was restructured under Chapter 77, Article 2, Section 2, as the Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs (MCLA).
Our mission is to advise and inform the governor and legislators on matters of importance to Latinos in Minnesota. MCLA does this by tracking state legislation and analyzing the impact that policy, procedures, laws or regulations have on Latino Minnesotans. MCLA also conducts research and relays data within various policy areas impacting Minnesota Latinos.
One of MCLA’s key roles is to infuse the Latino community’s voice within the legislative and policy making process. MCLA is the Latino community’s liaison and bridge to government, agencies and nonprofit sectors. MCLA’s objective is to empower Latinos, by injecting their voice into the legislative and policy making process, to become strong, visible and self-sufficient Minnesotans.
Another role is to serve as a referral agency ensuring Latino Minnesotans are connected to the appropriate services and programs offered by state, local and community resources.
Council Staff & Board Leadership
MCLA’s organizational structure is unique to state government. Its’ personnel consists of a four-person staff, student interns, and a fifteen-member Council. MCLA is led by an executive director and supported by three legislative and policy liaisons. Along with the Executive Director, each one of them monitor, track, and inform policy makers on four policy areas: education, economic development, immigration, and health.
MCLA’s board is appointed by the Governor for a total of two terms; each term is four years. The board consists of 15 voting members as follows: three at-large members, eight members representing each of the state’s congressional districts, two Representatives and two Senators appointed by the leadership of the Minnesota Legislature.
MCLA & the Political Process
The Minnesota Legislature functions on a two-year cycle called a biennium and convenes each year. The first year of the biennium is called the “long year” and lasts from January to mid-May. The second year is called the “short year” and typically runs from February through the end of April.
During the legislative sessions, MCLA staff and Board Members are at the state Capitol testifying at hearings on Latino data and/or policy impact, meeting with legislators on current issues affecting Latinos state-wide and monitoring legislation.
In the past, MCLA has been instrumental in proposing policy or legislative initiatives within the areas of workforce and labor, affordable housing, criminal justice, affirmative action policies, economic development for minority owned businesses and education reform.
To leverage resources, MCLA also collaborates with other organizations working on Latino studies within common areas of significance.
Get Involved with Latino Communities
Get involved! Many non-profits and agencies have opportunities for career enhancement, volunteerism, and civic engagement.
To learn more about other organizations in the Latino community, how the political process works, or to learn more about MCLA call our office at 651.757-1760.