OLYMPIA – An addition to the 2016 supplemental budget, requested by Sen. Bob Hasegawa, D-Seattle, will provide a path to better understand how legislative policies affect communities of color in Washington state.

“We talk a great deal about addressing racial disproportionality in the Legislature, and yet we often have no understanding of how new policies may specifically impact communities of color,” Hasegawa said. “If members can request racial impact statements before policies become law, we can ensure we don’t inadvertently take the state backwards with new policy.”

The budget proviso dictates the Caseload Forecast Council must work in cooperation with appropriate agencies to develop recommendations that will lead to cost effective racial and ethnic impact statements to legislative bills – similar to fiscal impact statements that determine how much it will cost to implement a policy. Hasegawa sponsored a bill that formed the basis for this budget proviso, which did not pass, Senate Bill 5752.

“This is a significant step in the right direction when it comes to reversing institutional disparities that have plagued our state and nation in areas from criminal justice to education to essential services. As far as we’ve come over recent decades, there is a lot of work still to do when it comes to social justice. I am excited to see where this research takes us,” Hasegawa added.

The Caseload Forecast Council must submit a report on their findings to the governor and appropriate legislative committees by the end of the year.