OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 1114 (File 742, as amended by Senate "A")*

AN ACT CONCERNING THE COMMISSION ON RACIAL AND ETHNIC DISPARITY IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.

SUMMARY:

This bill makes several changes to the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Criminal Justice System. Among other things, it:

1. increases, from 21 to 22, the commission's membership by adding the chairperson of the Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission;

2. requires the commission to meet quarterly and when the chairperson deems necessary, instead of only when the commission deems necessary;

3. establishes the commission's mission;

4. eliminates existing duties and creates new ones; and

5. eliminates the current annual reporting requirement and replaces it with new biennial reporting requirements starting by January 1, 2017.

The bill also updates obsolete terminology used in various statutes to describe individuals with certain disabilities. Generally, it eliminates the terms “crippled” and “defective eyesight” with “physical disabilities” and “visual impairments” respectively.

*Senate Amendment “A” adds the provisions updating obsolete terminology.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

COMMISSION'S MISSION

Under the bill, the commission must address the overrepresentation of racial and ethnic minorities, with particular attention to African-Americans and Latinos, in the state's criminal justice system, including consideration of the impact of such racial and ethnic disparity on minority communities.

DUTIES

The bill eliminates the commission's existing duties and instead requires it to:

1. sponsor conferences, forums, and educational and training programs on the causes, effects, and implications of racial and ethnic disparity in the state's criminal justice system;

2. collaborate with national, state, and local organizations and institutions to identify strategies for reducing racial and ethnic disparity in the state's criminal justice system;

3. develop, evaluate, and recommend promising and emerging policies and practices, including any implementing legislation;

4. (a) determine whether any statutory provision negatively impacts racial and ethnic disparity in the state's criminal justice system and (b) recommend statutory changes to the governor and legislature to reduce the impact;

5. make recommendations to the governor, legislature, and state and local agencies and organizations on the implementation of any such strategy, policy, practice, or legislative change; and

6. assess the impact of implementing these strategies, policies, practices, or legislative changes.

The bill eliminates the commission's duties under current law, which include, among other things:

1. developing and recommending policies for reducing the number of minorities in the criminal justice system;

2. examining the impact of statutes and policies on any such disparities, including researching and gathering statistical data on the impact of these disparities;

3. developing and recommending training programs for criminal justice system personnel;

4. preparing annual comprehensive plans to reduce racial and ethnic disparity and the number of minorities in the juvenile justice system;

5. analyzing the key stages in the juvenile justice system to determine any stage where there is disparate impact; and

6. annually preparing and distributing a juvenile justice plan to reduce the number of minorities in the juvenile justice system.

Reporting

Under current law, the commission must report to the legislature, annually by January 1st, on the additional resources that should be made available to reduce racial and ethnic disparity in the criminal justice system without affecting public safety. The bill instead requires the commission, starting by January 1, 2017 and biennially after that, to report to the governor and the legislature on its activities and accomplishments since the previous report.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

44

Nay

0

(04/09/2015)

Government Administration and Elections Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

15

Nay

0

(05/05/2015)