HOUSE BILL NO. 465
AS AMENDED BY
SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 29 OF THE DELAWARE CODE ESTABLISHING THE AMERICAN AND ITALIAN CULTURAL EXCHANGE COMMISSION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE :
WHEREAS, Italy’s rich cultural heritage has provided immeasurable contributions to world civilization including the engineering feats of ancient Rome, the fine arts of the Renaissance, the genius of DaVinci, the literary works of Dante and the operas of Puccini; and
WHEREAS, Delaware has substantially benefited form the influences and contributions of its citizens who share an Italian heritage; and
WHEREAS, today almost 10% of Delaware’s population – some 75,000 citizens – are of Italian descent; and
WHEREAS, the portrayal of Italians on television and in other media in recent years has acted to reinforce and perpetuate negative stereotypes and erode the cultural identity of the Italian-American community nationwide; and
WHEREAS, this never-ending drumbeat of negativity is hurting young Italian-Americans by undermining the value of their heritage; and
WHEREAS, children are emulating the negative role models depicted in the popular media, sowing the seeds for future denigration and disparagement of Italian-Americans, their heritage and culture; and
WHEREAS, the State should have an interest in maintaining and promoting the positive aspects of Italian heritage and thus avoid the potential for bigotry against one of Delaware’s largest ethnic groups; and
WHEREAS, the most productive method for dispelling ignorance is by educating our citizens about the value of Italian heritage and its related culture, music, art, language and history; and
WHEREAS, it is appropriate that programs, workshops, institutes, seminars and other teacher-training activities for the study of the culture, history and heritage of Italians and Italian heritage be conducted at the various high schools and institutions of higher education throughout Delaware; and
WHEREAS, it is fitting and proper to establish a permanent State-level commission to survey, design, encourage and promote the implementation of Italian-related cultural and educational programs in this State; and
WHEREAS, it is fitting and proper to establish a permanent State-level Commission to survey, design, encourage and promote the implementation of Italian-related cultural and educational programs in this State; and
WHEREAS, this Commission would be charged with responsibility for the coordination of events that will provide appropriate awareness of the culture, history, heritage and language of Italians and Americans of Italian heritage on a regular basis throughout the State.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend Title 29 of the Delaware Code by enacting as a new Chapter 35. Delaware Commission on Italian Heritage and Culture as follows:
“CHAPTER 35. DELAWARE COMMISSION ON ITALIAN HERITAGE & CULTURE.
§ 3501. Delaware Commission on Italian Heritage & Culture.
(a) There is hereby established a Delaware Commission on Italian Heritage & Culture hereinafter referred to as the Commission. The Commission shall consist of nine (9) members, all of whom shall be American citizens descended from Italian ancestry and residents of the State as follows:
1. three (3) members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, one each for a term of one (1), two (2) and three (3) years ;
2. three (3) members appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, one each for a term of one (1), two (2) and three (3) years; and
3. three (3) members appointed by the Governor, one each for a term of one (1), two (2) and three (3) years, one (1) of whom shall be designated as Chair.
After the initial appointments, all terms shall be for three (3) years. No member shall be appointed for more than three (3) consecutive terms.
(b) Members of the Commission shall serve without compensation, except that they may be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses incidental to their duties.
(c) The Commission shall establish, maintain and develop cultural ties between Italians and Italian-Americans; foster a special interest in the historical and cultural backgrounds of both groups, as well as in the economic, political, social, and artistic life of the countries involved; and shall help establish or promote Italian language programs in the schools of this State.
(d) This Commission shall fall under the authority of the Secretary of State and shall have such powers, duties and functions as hereinabove set forth and as may subsequently be assigned by the Secretary, and such other matters as may be referred to it by the Governor, the Secretary of State or the General Assembly.
(e) The Commission shall be given office space as established by the Secretary of State.
(f) A vacancy prior to the expiration of the term of a member of the Commission shall be filled for the remainder of the term and shall not count toward the three (3) consecutive term limitation on service.
Approved July 12, 2004