Senate Bill 10, sponsored by Senate President Pro Temp David Givens, would establish a commission with 13 members to help ensure policies passed by the legislature help address the ongoing struggle the state and nation face when it comes to race and inequality.
Givens said there is currently no entity in state government to help understand the walks of life of others and he believes this bill will help start to make progress in this area as it is crucial to get policies right concerning the way they impact Kentuckians.
He added not only is it important to address racial inequities in the state but it is also economically beneficial for the state to lift up all Kentuckians.
The 13-member commission will include appointees from the Kentucky Human Rights Commission, four members of the state Senate, four members of the state House, and four members not affiliated with state government with expertise in education, health, economic development or the law who will be appointed by majority and minority leadership in both legislative bodies.
OJ Oleka, President of the Kentucky Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and Co-Founder of Kentucky Anti-Racism, also testified in favor of the bill stating his organization shows anti-racism doesn’t have to be a partisan debate and this bill, with supporters from many different areas, shows Kentucky can be a place where solutions are created and answers to challenges are crafted.
He continued by adding if the legislature can pass Senate Bill 10, it will show that the General Assembly came together in a difficult, short session to achieve a bipartisan goal with nonpartisan outcomes on this important issue.
“The Kentucky Chamber applauds the General Assembly on this important first step. With the recent release of our report, ‘Achieving Equity to Build a Stronger Kentucky,’ we recommended increased reporting and transparency on racial disparity in education, corrections, economic opportunity to support policy. The commission proposed in Senate Bill 10 will focus attention on challenges we must face,” Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts said in a statement Wednesday.
Senate Bill 10 passed through the committee with a 10-0 vote and now moves to the full Senate for a vote on the floor.