According to Iowa Code Section 216A.14, the Office of Latino Affairs was established to do the following:
- Advocate for Iowans of Latino heritage
- Serve the needs of Iowans of Latino heritage in participating fully in the economic, social and cultural life of the state by providing assistance and coordinating the efforts of other state departments and agencies
- Assist in the development and coordination of other public or private organizations which serve Iowans of Latino heritage
- Inform Iowans about programs and agencies operating to assist the Latino community.
Originally established as the governor’s Spanish-speaking task force through legislative action on April 1974. At the time its primary mission was to study the issues facing Spanish-speaking persons. The Task Force produced a report titled “Conóceme en Iowa”.
Two years later on July 1, 1976, the Sixty-sixth General Assembly approved and Governor Robert Ray signed into law the Spanish-Speaking People’s Commission. Ten years later, in 1986 , during an overall reorganization of state government the Iowa Department of Human Rights was formed, under which was placed the Spanish-Speaking People’s Commission.
In 1990, the Commission and the Division were renamed Latino Affairs. During the 2011 reorganization the Division of Latino Affairs was renamed again as the Office of Latino affairs.