Lawmakers should understand how legislation will affect communities of color before voting.
Racial impact statements give policymakers an opportunity to modify legislation that would worsen existing racial disparities before adoption and implementation. This legislation would require the Legislative Research Commission to establish and perform racial impact assessments on proposed legislation. This would function similarly to a fiscal note, which informs lawmakers of how proposed legislation will affect the state budget.
Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) have borne the heaviest burden of the negative effects of certain policies throughout U.S. history. While many policies in our country's past and present clearly and purposefully target racial minorities, other policies with negative outcomes were created without ill intent (though they are often a result of poor minority representation in elected office and government). Racial impact statements would provide policymakers with the necessary tools to fully understand the potential impacts of proposed legislation on communities of color. This would allow policymakers to repair past harms and ensure all Kentuckians have access to an equitable future.
In good company: 5 states across the political spectrum have adopted racial impact statements, including Oregon, Iowa, and Florida.