DATA DISAGGREGATION MOVES FORWARD, A MAJOR STEP TOWARD EQUITY BY IMPROVING STATEWIDE DATA COLLECTION
State legislators recognize data disaggregation as an important issue, not only in the Asian American communities, but across ALL race and ethnicities. Joint Committee establishes an inclusive commission to expand disaggregated data to all groups.
BOSTON – Following a long hearing last Tuesday, the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight has voted to move House Bill 3361 forward by establishing an inclusive commission tasked with updating the initial placeholder bill, to expand statewide racial and ethnic data collection through disaggregation to all racial and ethnic groups.
This is a significant victory for advocates of improved data collection, who have been critical voices in moving the issue forward at the State House. For decades, data disaggregation has been an important civil rights issue for Asian American advocates, who view a monolithic racial identity as an impediment to recognizing the underserved and underrepresented.
The initial placeholder bill, H.3361, included data collection for major subgroups in the Asian American communities and was supported by broad coalition of over fifty community-based organizations in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. As support from Latino and Black organizations poured in, the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus offered its full support to expand and improve data collection for all races and will lead the Committee to establish a commission to craft a more comprehensive bill.
Community advocates and social service agencies are thrilled to see this movement and will work constructively with the newly established commission to fight for recognition of marginalized communities and equity in our Commonwealth.
Lisette Le, Director of Vietnamese American Initiative for Development, explained, “Vietnamese Americans are more likely to have Hepatitis B than other populations. These data points, along with others, are what guide us to determine the services we provide and partnerships we make in order to help mitigate issues around mental health, housing, economic development and education/youth services that our community needs. For many of the families that we serve, our ability to know the conditions that affect them saves their lives.”
“I’m thrilled that Chairman Timilty and Chairwoman Benson have agreed to move our legislation forward,” stated State Representative Tackey Chan (D-Quincy), the sponsor of H.3361. “I’m also grateful for the support and inclusion of the Black and Latino communities in our endeavor. They realize that data disaggregation will be an immensely beneficial tool for all our communities, and I look forward to working with Commission members as we craft a broad and inclusive way to bring data disaggregation to Massachusetts.”
The Special Commission will include House and Senate Members appointed by the Speaker of the House, Senate President and House and Senate Minority Leaders; appointees of the Black Advisory Commission and the Latino Advisory Commission; an appointee of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services; an appointee of the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division; and an appointee of the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Recommendations and proposed legislation to the clerks of the House of Representatives and the Senate have to be submitted by December 31, 2018.