Bill that would ensure Arab Americans are counted in state data one step closer to becoming law

SPRINGFIELD (CBS) —  A bill that would require the state to create a racial category for those who identify as Middle Eastern or North African is one step closer to becoming law.

House Bill 3768 passed the House floor Thursday night with overwhelming support. The legislation will need to pass the Senate before becoming law.

If passed, the bill would add a category called Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) to the Uniform Racial Classification Act.

Whenever a state agency is required by law to compile or report statistical data using racial or ethnic classification, the amended law says they must use MENA in addition to white, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. 

The bill was introduced in February after a years-long CBS 2 investigation that revealed the impact of federal and local governments not collecting data on this group. That includes during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Arab Americans were dying at high rates in Illinois, CBS 2 found.  

Social service and non-profit organizations serving the community said they were forced to rely on anecdotal information. And without concrete data, they struggled to obtain timely funding for resources to help the community. 

News,Region: Chicago,City: Chicago

via Local News – CBS Chicago

March 24, 2023 at 11:52AM

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