I’m thrilled that Chairwoman Benson and Chairman Timilty have agreed to move House Bill 3361 forward, and want to express my appreciation for the hard work, time, and energy that the entire Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight has dedicated to this bill. A Special Commission to further examine the feasibility and scope of implementation for data disaggregation is an important step forward that will ensure no community is left behind. I welcome the suggestions of the Commission and look forward to working collaboratively with Commission members, the Asian Caucus, and the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus to advance new, more holistic, and inclusive data disaggregation for the Commonwealth.
We have heard the concerns that have been voiced in recent months, and will work diligently to address them in the next iteration of the bill. As a Chinese American, I am intimately connected to the issue at hand and want to make it clear that I would never target or harm my own or any other community. I have been shocked and disappointed by many of the personal attacks used against me, Chairwoman Benson, Chairman Timilty, other members of the legislature, human services agencies, and private individuals. We welcome all viewpoints as a crucial part of the democratic process, however we do not condone the behavior that has been used to attack individuals and promulgate fear among certain communities.
I filed this bill with placeholder language to start a conversation at the State House about an issue that has been important to our communities for decades. The Legislature’s deliberative process allows all voices to be heard, to identify the work needed to be done within all impacted communities in order to create good public policy. The Commonwealth is subject to both state and federal privacy laws, race/ethnicity questions have and always will be optional, and no one will be denied access to services for nonparticipation. Individuals have the option to choose more than one category, as this information is entirely based on self-identification – in the same manner as the U.S. Census. This provides valuable information to policymakers about the needs of their communities, enabling them to make informed and accurate decisions on how to best serve their constituents.
As a member of the Asian Caucus and a Chinese American, my first priority was to address this issue within the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. I am thrilled and appreciative to have the support of the Black and Latino communities moving forward, and look forward to seeing a more inclusive data disaggregation bill next legislative session.