B.I.A.S. (Breaking Implicit Attitudes & Stereotypes) Bill Package

"Implicit bias is inherent in our healthcare, law enforcement and judicial systems. Implicit bias breeds injustice." – Assemblymember Kamlager-Dove

Assemblymember Kamlager-Dove recognizes a need for training about how to acknowledge and reduce implicit bias in the healthcare, law enforcement and judicial professions in California, and is sponsoring a package of three bills that address implicit bias – the attitudes or internalized stereotypes that affect our perceptions, actions and decisions in an unconscious manner, and often contributes to unequal treatment of people based on race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ability and other characteristics.

For instance, women are more likely to survive a heart attack when they are treated by a female physician, according to a 2018 paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In fact, women who see female doctors are three times more likely to survive than women who see male doctors.

When black men and white men commit the same crime, black men on average receive sentences almost 20 percent longer, according to survey data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission in 2017. A 2015 study by a University of California, Davis professor found “evidence of a significant bias in the killing of unarmed black Americans relative to unarmed white Americans, in that the probability of being black, unarmed, and shot by police is about 3.49 times the probability of being white, unarmed, and shot by police on average.”

If we believe that certain lives are less valuable than others, then we may be less likely to try and save those lives. If we believe that certain people are more threatening, then we may be less willing to defend their rights. If we believe that certain people are more likely to commit crimes, then we may be more likely to believe that they are guilty.

Today's leaders must work to expose the subconscious bias that exists in all of us. If the law does not acknowledge the existence of implicit bias and the consequent structural inequities, people who challenge unfair decisions face a nearly impossible hurdle to prove intentional discrimination. Implicit bias often is how discrimination manifests itself. If we can address biases before poor decisions are made in courts, emergency rooms and beside the flashing light atop a police car, then we finally may be able to move toward a more fair and just society.

The Bills:

AB 241: BIAS (Breaking Implicit Attitudes and Stereotypes) in Healthcare (Passed into law) 
Requires curriculum on implicit bias as a component of continued medical education for licensees under the Medical Board, Physician Assistant Board and Board of Registered Nursing

AB 242: BIAS (Breaking Implicit Attitudes and Stereotypes) in the Courts (Passed into law) 
Requires implicit bias training and testing for members of the judicial community (every three years for judges and attorneys; every two years for other court personnel)

AB 243: BIAS (Breaking Implicit Attitudes and Stereotypes) in Law Enforcement
Requires implicit bias training every two years for members of law enforcement agencies