Racial impact statements will help Oregon lawmakers evaluate effect of proposed legislation on Non-whites
From [HERE] Calling them "a good first step toward justice," state Sen. Chip Shields on Tuesday outlined how he hopes new "racial impact statements" will address racial disparities in criminal sentencing and child welfare cases in Oregon.
Shields, a Portland Democrat, said Oregon now joins only a handful of states in allowing legislators to get an assessment of how legislative proposals might affect minorities [what's that?].
"The idea is that more information is better," he told about 100 people gathered for an informational forum on the topic. "These will help determine if a child welfare bill or sentencing proposal has a disproportionate effect." A bill allowing two legislators to formally request a racial impact statement easily passed during the 2013 legislative session. Bills introduced into next February's 2015 session will be the first batch for which the new law will apply.
Momentum behind the effort to draft such statements is drawn from statistics showing that, among other things, African Americans make up about 2 percent of Oregon's general population, but about 10 percent of the state's prison population.
African Americans are nearly six times as likely to be in prison than whites in the state, according to Oregon Department of Corrections statistics. [MORE]