Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal and Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz that would require state agencies to update demographic collection methods on Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, North African and South Asian and Indian Diaspora residents in the state was passed by the full Senate.
“Our state has long been a cultural and ethnic melting pot, and as more and varied race and ethnic groups continue to make their way into New Jersey, our state agencies must review and when necessary adjust data collection methods so as to make sure every resident in the state is accounted for with demographic information that is comprehensive and accurate,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth).
Advocates argue that data should be updated on a regular basis and made accessible to the public so that local governments, elected officials, decision makers, and other stakeholders can use the information to strategically target programs for those most in need.
“A fair and representative democracy requires that we acknowledge and validate the contributions and the needs of all the diverse communities we have in the Garden State,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “This bill will ensure that we capture accurate data as a way to keep a pulse on the specific needs of our various different communities.”
Supporters of the bill, S-2415, argue that given the diversity of languages and culture, separating data for additional Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian and Indian Diaspora ethnic groups and making that data publicly accessible are critical for enhancing our State’s understanding of the needs and experiences of these different communities.
The bill would take effect on the first day of the 18th month following enactment, except that State agencies may take any anticipatory administrative action in advance as shall be necessary for the implementation of this act.
The bill was released from the Senate on a vote of 34-2.