Saturday, November 19, 2011

California passes new law to improve data on Pacific Islanders and Asians (California news 3 of 4)

California recently passed a law that moves the state further away from the outdated practice of lumping all Pacific Islanders and Asians into a single "Asian Pacific Islander" group. It should also make it harder for unfair employers and landowners to get away with discriminating against Pacific Islanders and Asians.

The law was introduced this year as Assembly Bill 1088 by California Assembly member Mike Eng, passed by the state legislature, and on October 9th, it was signed by Governor Brown.

If I read it correctly, this law should:
  • Expand the number of Pacific Islander and Asian sub-groups that state agencies, boards, and commissions report data on, to include specific data on major Pacific Islander groups such as Samoans, Hawaiians, and Chamorro
  • Ensure that the data collection and reporting practices of the Department of Fair Employment and Housings and the Department of Industrial Relations are consistent with the U.S. Census Bureau, and also report data on Pacific Islander sub groups
  • Require that the two departments report their findings on the Internet by July of next year
This law should bring California's practices in line with long-standing federal policy on data collection, which has long since recognized Pacific Islanders as a distinct racial group. For more on that nearly 15-year-old policy, click here: LINK

Just as importantly, it reflects a slow-but-steady movement at the state and federal level to abandon lumping together Pacific Islanders and Asians, in favor of recognizing Pacific Islanders and doing a better job of understanding the diverse needs of different Asian American populations.
  • Want to learn a little more? Here's a link to a summary press release from the Asian Pacific American Legal Center: LINK
  • Want to read the law for yourself? Follow this link: LINK

No comments: