LOS ANGELES (Oct. 9, 2015) — Earlier this week, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed AB 176, authored by state Assemblymember Rob Bonta, to the deep disappointment and dismay of many Asian Americans, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) across the state.
AB 176 would have required higher education and health agencies to provide ethnic-specific data for specific AANHPI sub-groups (e.g., Bangladeshi, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Korean, Samoan, Thai, Tongan, Vietnamese, etc.). The data was sought to help policymakers, businesses, and community leaders better address the wide education and health disparities that exist across the spectrum of AAPI ethnic groups.
“Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – LA) is deeply disappointed by Governor Brown’s veto of AB 176,” said Betty Hung, Advancing Justice – LA’s policy director. “Sound policy solutions require accurate data. Given the vast diversity of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, ethnic-specific data is imperative to promoting justice and equity, by exposing the disparities faced by the most disadvantaged members of our community.”
As an example of the value of disaggregated ethnic-specific data, last month, Advancing Justice – LA released a new report on AANHPIs and higher education in California, in partnership with the Campaign for College Opportunity. By using available disaggregated data, the report finds stark education contrasts across AANHPI ethnic groups, including a 21% variance in high school graduation rates, a 49% variation in high school A-G completion rates, and a 60% variation in college graduation rates. For example, 70% of Indian adult individuals, 25 years and older, have a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to 10% of Laotian adults. However, ethnic-specific data for AANHPIs is not always available and is not uniformly captured or analyzed, leading to the need for AB 176.
The bill received bi-partisan and cross-racial support in the state legislature, and passed both the state Assembly and Senate before being vetoed by the Governor.
In 2011, Advancing Justice – LA and other AAPI organizations led a successful campaign to pass AB 1088 (authored by then-Assemblymember Mike Eng), which required two state agencies to collect and provide disaggregated data on AAPI sub-groups. AB 176 was the latest effort to expand that data collection to other important state agencies.
In looking to the future, Advancing Justice – LA urges Governor Brown and other policymakers to demonstrate leadership by affirming the invaluable role that disaggregated data collection and reporting play in formulating sound public policies.