The Border Legislative Conference (BLC) will meet in El Paso starting today and continuing tomorrow and Saturday. This marks the first time in eight years the semiannual event has taken place in our border community.
The event is being coordinated by the BLC, with help from the office of state Sen. José Rodríguez, who has been an active member since his appointment to the Conference by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst shortly after being elected. Sen. Rodríguez invited the conference to meet in El Paso; this will be the 27th meeting of the BLC.
"With a national focus on immigration reform, the border is in the national spotlight, and we have an opportunity to share our story on other bi-national issues such as transportation, water, and climate change," Rodríguez said. "I'm very pleased to welcome this conference to El Paso and I'm looking forward to the events and panel discussions."
· Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Chamizal Treaty signing;
· Bi-national Transportation: Infrastructure & Financing Needs;
· Border Master Plans;
· How climate change is affecting agriculture and water supplies along the border region;
· The El Paso launch of the State of the Border Report;
· An overview of marijuana initiatives and legislation.
The events take place on both sides of the border and begin at 8 a.m. Thursday at the DoubleTree Hotel in Downtown El Paso. A complete schedule is attached.
The BLC provides a forum for border state lawmakers to share information and proposals with peers in other U.S. and Mexican states, as well as local and federal elected and appointed officials. The U.S.-Mexico border states are California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas in the U.S., and Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas in Mexico.
"The U.S.-Mexico binational dialogue is enhanced by the active participation of border states legislators. Whether the discussions are about trade, infrastructure, the environment or health, border states legislators have a strong understanding of the challenges and opportunities for this region that are sometimes harder to grasp from Washington, D.C. or Mexico City," said Martha Castañeda, Director of International Programs for the Council of State Governments-WEST, which organizes the BLC.
"Working hand in hand with their federal counterparts, BLC members can help shape effective policies that benefit residents of border communities and, more broadly, both Mexico and the United States."