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In California (39.1% Latino), numerous bills seeking to confront implicit bias among medical professionals, police officers and judges, are making their way through the state legislature, according to KPCC’s AirTalk.
“No one likes to be told what to do and no one thinks they’re a racist, so the question I hear a lot is, ‘Why do we need this?’,”state representative Sydney Kamlager-Dove told The Los Angeles Times.
“The goal is not to have punitive legislation. It is to help people acknowledge they have [implicit biases] and help reduce them.”
Legislation in the Works
Senate Bill 464
Senate Bill 464, or more commonly the California Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act, was introduced by State Senator Holly Mitchell last month.
It would implement an evidence-based training program to help perinatal healthcare providers recognize as well as correct their biases, and would require a refresher course every two years.
Furthermore, the bill would authorize California’s public health department to collect reliable data on maternal mortality rates. Moreover, this law will require hospitals to provide patients with additional information about filing discrimination complaints.
The bill currently sits in the state’s Committee on Appropriations.
Assembly Bills 241, 242, 243
If these are enacted, doctors, physician assistants, and nurses would have to participate in eight hours of implicit bias training as well as testing within two years of obtaining their licenses.
Going forward, these medical professionals will also have to undergo training every two years after that.
Similarly, police officers, court officers, including judges, bailiffs, clerks, and trial lawyers would also have to undergo training.
These pieces of legislation find themselves in the same place as Bill 464.
Implicit bias is a preconceived notion or stereotype, which is beyond our control, that affects our understanding, actions, and decisions about others.
With Latina and other pregnant women of color facing constant discrimination from healthcare providers, as well as the racial bias that still floods doctor’s offices, legislative efforts like these are a good place to start.
From the criminal justice perspective, these efforts will significantly impact Latinos, who are more likely to be pulled over when driving.
“California is at the forefront in considering the legal ramifications around implicit bias,” Kelly Capatosto, a senior research associate at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University, told The Los Angeles Times.
“A lot of states haven’t done so much as acknowledge the problem.”