Three Proposed Bills Would Impose Implicit Bias Training for Medical Professionals, Judges and Police
There is a broad push in the Legislature to halt the unconscious perceptions and stereotypes that can contribute to discrimination and disparities in treatment in some professions. Discrimination and implicit bias can play a significant role in situations where life and death hang in the balance. Two legislators, Senator Holly Mitchell and Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove, have introduced the following bills to try to train people on how to spot implicit bias on the job: Senate Bill 464 (SB 464), Assembly Bill 241 (AB 241), Assembly Bill 242 (AB 242), and Assembly Bill 243 (AB 243). Assemblymember Kamlager-Dove stated the following regarding her proposed bills (AB 241, 242, and 243),
No one likes to be told what to do and no one thinks they’re a racist, so the question I hear a lot is, ‘Why do we need this?’ The goal is not to have punitive legislation. It is to help people acknowledge they have [implicit biases] and help reduce them.
SB 464 would create a training program to help perinatal healthcare providers identify and correct their biases. The state public health department would be tasked with collecting better data on maternal mortality rates, and require hospitals to provide patients with more information on how to file discrimination complaints. AB 241 would require that doctors, physician assistants and nurses undergo eight hours of implicit bias training and testing within two years of receiving their licenses and every two years thereafter. AB 242 and AB 243 would require similar training for police officers and court officers, including judges, bailiffs, clerks and trial lawyers. AB 242 focuses on implicit bias training for courts and attorneys, while AB 243 focuses on implicit bias training for peace officers.
According to the Los Angeles Times, university researchers have found that all people have implicit biases, or unconscious perceptions, both positive and negative, that can influence behavior. We will have to wait and see if these proposed bills are passed.