WHEREAS, all Missouri citizens should have the opportunity to lead health and productive lives; and

WHEREAS, both Houses of the Missouri General Assembly have deemed the plight of the African-American male to be a topic worthy of investigation; and

WHEREAS, African-American males have traditionally faced limited access to health care; and

WHEREAS, African-American males have experienced a decrease in life span and are at a higher risk for AIDS, hypertension, alcohol, drugs and tobacco abuse; and

WHEREAS, excessive high school dropout rates have been a troublesome problem for African-American males, with drop-outs exceeding graduations during the last academic year in Missouri; and

WHEREAS, in 1994 the U.S. Department of Labor reported that 38.1 percent of African-American males between the ages of sixteen and nineteen were unemployed; and

WHEREAS, in the United States homicides have become the leading cause of death for African-American males between the ages of seventeen and twenty-four, and in 1993 both the cities of Kansas City and St. Louis experienced a record number of such homicides; and

WHEREAS, African-American males are dramatically over-represented in both the Department of Corrections and the Division of Youth Services; and

WHEREAS, in order to effectively access the needs of Missouri's African-American males it is desirable that more detailed information be collected and organized, that strategies be developed to address these problems and that an implementation plan be proposed.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Mel Carnahan, Governor of the State of Missouri, pursuant to the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Missouri, do hereby authorize the Missouri Task Force on Status of African-American Males as follows:

  1. The Task Force will work with members of the Missouri General Assembly to organize and conduct a study devoted to solving problems and advancing recommendations exclusively pertinent to African-American males, in the areas of health, education, unemployment and criminal justice. The Task Force shall:
    1. conduct research to determine the nature and extent of the problems concerning African-American males in the four targeted subject areas;
    2. hold public hearings for the purpose of collecting data;
    3. identify existing federal, state and local programs that address problems and solutions relevant to the targeted areas of study;
    4. develop strategies to improve the social condition of the African-American male; and
    5. report to the Governor, President Pro Tem of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House on the activities, findings and recommendations of the Task Force by January 1, 1997
  2. The Missouri Task Force on the Status of African-American Males shall consist of two (2) members of the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House; two (2) members of the Missouri Senate appointed by the President Pro Tem of the Senate; the Directors or their designees of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, the Department of Health, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Department of Higher Education, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Economic Development and the Office of Administration; and such other civic and community leaders and representatives of the employment, criminal justice, education and health communities as the Governor may appoint.

    The members of the Task Force shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor without compensation, except that they shall be compensated for reasonable expenses incurred in the discharge of duties.

  3. The Department of Social Services shall provide such funding, physical facilities, staff and services to the Task Force as are necessary to discharge effectively the obligations of the Task Force.
  4. The Task Force shall expire on January 1, 1997 and shall submit a preliminary report within the first six months of its origination. A final report shall be submitted to the Governor and both Houses of the Missouri General Assembly by the Task Force expiration date noted above.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Missouri, in the City of Jefferson, on this 12th day of October, 1995.

[Mel Carnahan's signature]


[Rebecca McDowell Cook's signature]

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