UPDATE: After receiving overwhelming public support, LD 2 is moving forward in the Legislature. Members of the Committee on State and Local Government today voted 7-5 to pass the bill with minor amendments presented by the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross of Portland. The bill will now go to the House floor for a vote.
Maine is not immune from systemic racism. Laws and policies that have an unequal effect on historically disadvantaged racial and ethnic groups are part of systemic racism. Often, these laws are “race neutral” – meaning the language of the laws does not explicitly mention racial groups. However, the laws have an unequal racial impact when they are implemented.
To undo systemic racism, lawmakers need to know whether a bill may create racial disparities before it becomes law. Racial impact statements are a tool to help legislators do this.
LD 2 sets up a process to review legislation to see what impact it would have on historically disadvantaged racial populations. In part, the bill would allow legislative committees to ask for, and receive, data necessary to assess a bill’s potential impact on racial and ethnic minorities.