In the wake of startling Census numbers, new research shows the California Legislature scoring a “C-” and Governor Schwarzenegger a “D,” and reveals that partisan politics are standing in the way of progress in the nation’s most diverse state.
For Immediate Release Contact: Jarad Sanchez, Applied Research Center Mobile: (818) 613-0385
As Census Reports Deepening Racial Divide, Lawmakers Fail to Provide Solutions New Report Gives California Officials Low Marks on Race in Session Plagued by Missed Opportunities
November 14, 2006 (Oakland, CA) In the wake of startling Census numbers, new research from the Applied Research Center (ARC) documents the failure of California lawmakers to address a deepening racial divide threatening the security and well-being of all Californians. FACING RACE: California Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity 2006, evaluates the Governor and Legislature on their support for proactive legislation to close long-standing disparities in health, education, income and other key indicators. With the legislature scoring a “C-” and Governor Schwarzenegger a “D,” the report reveals partisan politics is standing in the way of progress in the nation’s most diverse state.
“New census data released today shows that race matters in California and throughout the nation. As our population grows, we need a plan for addressing the changing needs of our diverse state” said Menachem Krajcer, senior policy analyst at the Applied Research Center and the report’s author. “Bitter partisan politics and budget restraints are crippling long overdue reforms in health and education.“
Data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau documents a persistent and deepening racial divide nationwide and in California. White households had incomes that were two-thirds higher than Blacks and 40% higher than Hispanics last year. Whites are also more likely to attend college and less likely to live in poverty. FACING RACE 2006 poses the critical questions of the nation’s racial divide to those in power, evaluating Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and members of the Legislature on their support for legislation that would bridge the racial gap.
In addition, the annual report, now in its 3rd year, offers a county by county mapping of demographic changes and an analysis of the racial divide in California healthcare, schools and jobs.
“For Latinos in California and other communities of color, race continues to have a disparate impact when it concerns health outcomes. Despite advancements in medical technology, we continue to lag behind outcome improvements, particularly with chronic illnesses,” said Lupe Alonzo Diaz, Executive Director for the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California. “As California’s diverse communities continue to increase, the time is now to craft meaningful solutions to many of these problems.”
Report Highlights Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger received a D for 55% support for racial equity legislation.
Both the Assembly and the Senate received a low C for support of racial equity—69% and 65% respectively. The strongest leadership for racial equity was in the Assembly: Of the 20 racial equity bills that were passed by the legislature, 12 originated in the Assembly. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez received an A for 100% support, Senate pro Tem Don Perata received a C for 70% support, for failure to vote on six racial equity bills.
The higher the racial diversity of a legislative district, the higher the support for racial equity. Average scores for districts with 75% or more people of color were 99% in the Assembly and 95% in the Senate. On average, districts with white majorities voted for racial equity 44% of the time in the Assembly and 43% of the time in the Senate.
Missed Opportunities Increasing College Access: From raising the standards of the state’s high school curriculum (AB 1896) to ensuring college opportunity (SB 1709), key education reforms failed to pass the legislature or were vetoed by the Governor.
Health Care for All. The state failed to support counties providing health care to all children over a partisan divide over immigrant children. A single payer health care system to cover all Californians, including 6.5 million currently uninsured was vetoed by the Governor.
“While racial disparities are pervasive in California, they need not be permanent. For this state and others around the country, the time has come to begin facing race,” Tammy Johnson, policy director at the Applied Research Center which also released reports on racial equity in Minnesota and Illinois today. “Overcoming institutional racism involves restructuring the distribution of rights and resources in this state and nationwide. Our elected leaders must create innovative solutions that take this responsibility seriously.”
FACING RACE: California Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity is the follow-up to the Applied Research Center’s California Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity 2005 and California’s New Majority 2004 Legislative Report Card on Race.
The Applied Research Center (ARC) is a public policy institute advancing racial justice through research, advocacy and journalism.
Facing Race 2006: ILLINOIS
Representing the first time Illinois lawmakers have been evaluated on their response to issues of racial equity, Facing Race 2006: Illinois Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity was released today in Chicago, IL.
For more information:
Josina Morita Ph: 312-376-8235 Cell: 773-844-7296 Terry Keleher Ph: 312-376-8234 Cell: 773-610-5673 Applied Research Center, Chicago Office
RACIAL DIVIDE DEEPENS AS SOLUTIONS STALL IN SPRINGFIELD, NEW REPORT FINDS
November 13, 2006 (Chicago, IL) With the state legislature convening this week for the Fall Veto Session, a new report Monday finds that dire racial inequities remain unchecked in Springfield.
Representing the first time Illinois lawmakers have been evaluated on their response to issues of racial equity, Facing Race 2006: Illinois Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity was released today by the Midwest office of the Applied Research Center, a national policy institute. Despite significant strides, the report shows that key legislation to remedy deep-seated racial disparities in income, education and health stalled in the last session, threatening the state’s economic and social stability, and in particular its 3.2 million residents of color.
“While racial disparities are pervasive in Illinois, they need not be permanent. For this state, the time has come to begin facing race,” said Josina Morita, Senior Policy Analyst at the Applied Research Center and the report’s author. “Overcoming institutional racism involves restructuring rights and resources in this state through equitable policy change.”
They based that finding on sixteen legislative proposals that stalled in the General Assembly. Notable bills to decrease racial inequities that failed include:
SB 37, Indexing the Minimum Wage to Inflation, which never made it out of the Senate, would annually adjust the state’s minimum wage according to changes in the consumer price index. This would provide needed income to minimum wage earners, 60 percent of whom are people of color.
HB 5000, Tax-Exempt Hospital Accountability Act, which never cleared the House, would require non-profit hospitals to contribute 8 percent of their operating costs to charity care (up from a current average contribution of 1%). This would provide needed health care access to the uninsured. Working-age Blacks and Latinos are, respectively, twice and three times as likely as whites to have no health insurance. Undocumented Latinos are five times as likely as whites to be without health insurance.
SB/HB 750, School Funding and Tax Reform, which failed to pass in the Senate or House, would create the School District Tax Relief Fund in order to provide more equitable school funding. This measure is intended to help reduce racial gaps in educational opportunities and performance. In 2003 the funding gap per student between the school districts with the highest and lowest minority populations was nearly $1,500.
“Inequalities exist across issues of education funding, access to quality health care, access to transportation, and economic opportunities,” says Senator Kwame Raoul. “It is important to address these issues, but also the underlying racial inequities that produce these disparities."
The demise of key legislation linked to racial equity overshadows other progress lawmakers have made to improve conditions for people of color in Illinois, the authors said.
“Though there’s much to be done to end the state’s deep racial disparities, in some key areas Illinois’ elected officials are making real strides to create policies that promote racial equity,” Ms. Morita noted.
The report identifies 20 bills deemed to have a positive impact on racial equity that the General Assembly approved and the Governor signed into law. Some notable “racial equity” bills included:
SB 92: Creation of a new Juvenile Justice Department, distinct from the Illinois Department of Corrections, is charged with providing comprehensive rehabilitative programs to the state’s incarcerated youth, 52 percent of whom are Black. A related measure, SB 283 eliminates automatic transfers of juveniles to adult court, 99 percent of which involved youth of color between 1999 and 2000.
HB 615: The Reduction in Health Disparities Act provides grants to improve health outcomes in communities of color and requires the Office of Minority Health to establish measurable goals for reducing racial health disparities in priority areas. While Illinois has one of the nation’s highest mortality rates related to asthma, the Black asthma death rates is twice that of whites.
For their votes on racial equity measures, the Senate and House collectively received B grades. 16 of 59 Senators and 36 of 118 Representatives made the “honor roll” for supporting all 20 racial equity bills.
Although many positive measures received support across racial and party lines, legislators of color supported more racial equity bills than white legislators. Legislators from districts with the highest percentages of people of color were more likely to support racial equity bills.
“Illinois is experiencing an unprecedented growth of communities of color in nearly every county with a people of color majority expected by 2050” said Morita. “We need the political will to squarely face up to the realities of institutional racism. False notions of “colorblindness” – pretending that race and racism don’t exist – will not move us forward.”.
The Applied Research Center will be monitoring the upcoming legislative session and plans to release an annual edition of the Facing Race report .
The Applied Research Center is a public policy institute advancing racial justice through research, advocacy and journalism.
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Facing Race 2006: MINNESOTA
The Organizing Apprenticeship Project in conjunction with Legislators and community organizations from across the state delivered grades to the Minnesota State Legislature this morning, criticizing a marked failure to advance racial equity in Minnesota.
Minnesota Leads Nation in Quality of Life, but Its Lawmakers Fail on Racial Justice Organizing Apprenticeship Project Report Challenges Legislators
(Minneapolis, MN) - In the wake of state and local elections, the Organizing Apprenticeship Project in conjunction with the Applied Research Center presented findings this morning from the Minnesota Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity evaluating the Governor and state legislature on key legislation effecting communities of color. Legislators and community organizations from across the state delivered the grades to the Minnesota State Legislature, criticizing a marked failure to advance racial equity in Minnesota.
“Race matters in Minnesota. But as demographics shift, the unprecedented growth in communities of color is not being echoed in the policy decisions of the governor and state legislature,” said Jermaine Toney, policy analyst with the Organizing Apprenticeship Project and the report’s author. “Disparities in opportunity, access and outcomes between white Minnesotans and Minnesotans of color are stark – in some cases, among the worst in the nation. While a few leaders championed laws for all, missed opportunities in health, education and criminal justice crippled this legislative session,” asserted Toney.
The Minnesota Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity (2005-2006) evaluates and grades Governor Tim Pawlenty and members of the Legislature on their support for racial equity by analyzing 22 bills that, if passed, would have a strong positive impact on communities of color.
Key trends in the report: Governor Tim Pawlenty received a C- on racial equity legislation. The Governor vetoed three of the ten bills that reached his desk (70 percent).
The Legislature received an F. Seven of 22 (32 percent) bills that were considered for this report became law. Ten bills reached the governor’s desk. The other 12 bills became missed opportunities. Minnesota lawmakers are failing on racial equity but champions are emerging. Strongest leadership comes from legislators in districts with people of color majorities.
The honor roll for racial equity cuts across geography, party affiliation and racial group. Legislators were from Twin Cities and greater Minnesota. There were two republican legislators, though a majority of legislators were from the democratic party. There were three legislators of color, but the majority of legislators were white.
Missed Opportunities: Although real policy solutions were put forward in this session to address Minnesota’s racial divide, many pieces of legislation ended the term as “missed opportunities.” These were policy proposals that were either rejected by the Legislature or vetoed by the Governor. Below are two examples:
Education-Governor Pawlenty vetoed the Quality Rating for Early Learning Centers bill which would have set standards for pre-kindergarten early learning centers and help parents evaluate childcare choices.
Criminal Justice-tens of thousands of people of color who were arrested, but whose cases were dismissed in court, would have had their records cleaned if the Legislature had passed HF 1715. This bill would have removed a significant racial barrier to employment and housing.
Despite the multiple missed opportunities in the legislative cycle, advocates and legislators also heralded policy makers who did take substantial steps to close the racial gap in key issue areas. “Racial justice should speak deeply to Minnesota’s egalitarian tradition of developing legislative tools to create equal opportunities in jobs, education, health care and criminal justice,” noted Congressman-elect Keith Ellison. “I hope the report findings serve to inspire the Minnesota State Legislature to step up and lead for racial equity in our state,” stated Ellison.
“While racial disparities are pervasive in Minnesota, they need not be permanent. For this state, the time has come to begin facing race,” said Pastor Christopher Becker, from Peace Lutheran Church in Inver Grove Heights.
The Organizing Apprenticeship Project (OAP) works to strengthen community organizing in Minnesota by increasing the number, effectiveness and diversity of community organizers, leaders and organizing projects in the state. This report is intended to be the first annual report on racial equity, with the second report coming out next year.
Changing Demographics Pose Tough Questions
The analysis released today by the Applied Research Center tracks demographic changes along racial lines between 2000 and 2005. Available online, the fact sheet provides state-by-state data charting the rapid rise of communities of color in the U.S.
For Immediate Release Contact: Andre Banks – 917.456.7759 or Rinku Sen - 212.513.7925
New Census Data Shows Dramatic Increase in Latinos, Asian Americans Changing Demographics Pose Tough Questions for Elected Officials
Monday, August 14, 2006 (New York, NY) – Today, the Applied Research Center (ARC) released data showing dramatic increases in U.S. communities of color. Pulled from newly released census data, the analysis confirms an increasingly multi-racial, multi-national and multi-lingual nation that will demand new attention from local, state and federal policymakers.
ARC found a 5.6% increase in Blacks, while Asians and Pacific Islanders (API) are up 18.5% compared to five years ago. The biggest increases came in the Latino community, which grew by 7 million between 2000 and 2005; an increase of nearly 20%. Whites are the only group to show a dip, dropping 2 points to 67% of the population.
“The new census data confirms what has already been predicted. Very soon there will be a new majority in the U.S. made up of communities of color,” said Rinku Sen , executive director of the Applied Research Center. ”The conservative movement to limit immigration reform and other policies that open doors for people of color seems seriously out of a step with these trends. America is a multi-racial nation and becoming more so, not less.”
The analysis released today by the national policy institute tracks demographic changes along racial lines between 2000 and 2005. Available online , the fact sheet provides state-by-state data charting the rapid rise of communities of color in the U.S.
“Our analysis shows that growth in communities of color is broad-based and occurring outside the states and regions you might expect,” said Menachem Krajcer , senior policy analyst at ARC. “Eight southern states show more than 25% growth in their Latino communities, signaling a demographic shift that is truly national in scope.”
Key Trends: • Latinos grow by 7 million, a 19.7% increase. • 36 states experienced a 15 percent or more increase in the number of APIs • Blacks grew 1.9 million, a 5.6% increase • The number of multiracial Americans grew by 540,000, a 15.8% increase • The number of American Indians grew by 6.1%
“This nation is changing and policymakers must respond or find themselves out of step with the needs of these growing communities, and perhaps, out of office,” added Ms. Sen.