Senate Pushes Museum of the Latino Closer to Reality

WASHINGTON, D.C.

The United States Senate has approved legislation that includes authorization to establish a commission to study creation of  a National Museum of the American Latino as part of the Smithsonian Institution.

Similar legislation passed in the House of Representatives February 6, 2007. The bill goes back to the House for a procedural vote and then will head to the White House for President Bush’s signature. The Senate version was part of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008, which passed by a vote of 91 to 4 (with 5 not voting) on April 10.

U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra, Democrat of California, a sponsor of the bill, said momentum to approve the museum provision had grown in recent months.

“What was once a dream is now a reality,” Becerra said, “It is my hope that we can get this to the president in short order so that we can immediately form the commission and subsequently move forward to complete our American cultural mosaic.”

Sen. Ken Salazar, Democrat of Colorado, author of the bill, said, “This bill would take the first step in commemorating the rich contributions of the Latino community to American life. The end result will be a more enhanced experience for the 20 million visitors that come to our nation’s capital to learn the full history of America.”

The legislation would set up a 23-member commission charged with producing a national conference to discuss the museum’s viability, a public-private partnership for fund raising and a report to Congress within 24 months after the law is signed on how to  make the museum concept a reality.

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