0525807rep-ford-2007reduced.jpgState Representative Wayne Ford (D-Des Moines) authored two bills this year that were combined and passed the Iowa House of Representatives today. The bills require that state government determine the impact that state grants and some criminal legislation has on Iowa’s minorities.

“This is landmark legislation and is a remarkable step in addressing the special circumstances of Iowa’s minority population,’ Ford said.

House File 2393 requires that any applicant for a state grant from a state of Iowa agency must include a minority impact statement that indicates if there will be any disproportionate or unique impact on minority persons in Iowa. If there is an impact, the applicant must explain the rationale for such an impact. In addition, they must disclose whether representatives of minority persons were consulted about the impact.

The bill defines minority persons as women, persons with a disability, Blacks, Latinos, Asians or pacific Islanders, American Indians, or Alaskan Native Americans.

Ford was successful in adding language from another of his bills to House File 2393. This language will require that the correctional impact statements currently required by law must also include any impact on minorities in Iowa. Current law requires information on whether new legislation will have an impact on our prisons and correctional institutions. This bill will now determine if there is a unique effect on minorities.

“A disproportional number of minorities end up in Iowa prisons,” Ford noted. “This legislation will help us to determine if proposed legislation is unfairly targeting certain segments of Iowa’s population. I believe that we need to be tough on crime, but we must also make sure that our laws are fair and equitable. As Marc Mauer Executive Director of The Sentencing Project has said, if these series of bills become law, it will be the first of its kind in the nation.”

House File 2393 will now go to the Iowa Senate for consideration.