On Wednesday the House and the Senate approved a rule which allows lawmakers to consider the potential racial or ethnic impact of criminal justice legislation before it becomes law.

The rule states that whenever a legislative committee approves a bill which would increase or decrease the prison population, a majority of that committee may vote to require that a “racial and ethnic impact statement” be prepared by legislative staff to see if the bill would have a disparate impact. Iowa is the only other state to approve such a measure.

The rule was approved by a voice vote in both chambers. Click here to read a full copy of the rules passed Wednesday. To specifically read about the racial impact statement portion of the rules scroll down to the section marked Final Committee Action then go to Section 15 (c) (2). Also click here to read an American Bar Association article on the issue.