State lawmakers take up Armenian Genocide

Local lawmakers are leading an effort to again have California recognize the Armenian Genocide and to push the federal government to do the same.

Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) introduced a joint Assembly and Senate resolution Tuesday designating April 24, 2011, as California Day of Remembrance for the Armenian Genocide.

The state has declared April 24 a special date for several years, Portantino spokeswoman Wendy Gordon said. A new resolution must be approved by the Legislature each year.

The date honors the more than 1.5 million Armenians killed by Ottoman Turks from 1915 to 1923.

"The Armenian massacre was one of the greatest crimes in modern history and to ignore it is to condone," Portantino said in a statement.

Years-long efforts to pass a genocide resolution measure in Congress have failed because of opposition from lawmakers who say the measure would harm Turkish-American relations. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) has said he will reintroduce a congressional genocide recognition bill this year.

Portantino and freshman Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo) introduced the state measure. Co-authors include state Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) and Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake.)

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