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In pilot program, Maryland lawmakers to give extra scrutiny to racial equity in criminal justice legislation

When Maryland lawmakers weigh bills on changing policing practices and reforming criminal justice, they’ll have extra information to consider on racial equity.

The General Assembly is starting a pilot program that will give lawmakers expert analysis on whether bills would result in disparate harm — or help — to different segments of the population.

Democratic leaders say this will be a help in efforts to dismantle structural racism — the laws, policies and standards that have an adverse impact on people of color and perpetuate advantages for white people.

“There is finally a broader understanding across Maryland and the country of the existence of structural racism — but we have to have better and deeper information in order to reverse its impact,” House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne A. Jones said in a statement.

The nonpartisan analysts at the state Department of Legislative Services will generate the “racial impact statements” on bills, using data and assistance from Bowie State University and the University of Baltimore’s Schaefer Center for Public Policy.

The analysts already write comprehensive summaries for every bill introduced in the General Assembly, including explanations of how the proposals would work, how much they would cost and how they would affect local governments and […]

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