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The Classification of Race, Ethnicity, Color, or National Origin (CRECNO) Initiative:A Guide to the Projected Impacts on Californians

  • Author(s): Michaelson, Richard
  • Probert, Michelle
  • Swearingen, Van
  • Wolf, Marc
  • et al.

Californians are scheduled to vote on the Classification of Race, Ethnicity, Color, or National Origin (CRECNO) Initiative in a special recall election on October 7, 2003. If passed by voters, the initiative will amend Article I of the California Constitution effective January 1, 2005, banning the state from classifying any individual by race, ethnicity, color, or national origin, except for certain purposes or under specified circumstances. CRECNO defines "classifying" as "separating, sorting or organizing . . . including, but not limited to, inquiring, profiling, or collecting such data on government forms." Classification by race, ethnicity, color, or national origin will still be allowed under the following circumstances: · If the governor and a two-thirds majority of both houses of the legis-lature decide that classification in state operations other than public education, public contracting, and public employment serves a "com-pelling state interest." · Classification by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) for 10 years after the effective date of CRECNO. DFEH in-vestigates individual complaints of discrimination. · Classification of medical research subjects and patients. · The description of suspects in order to aid law enforcement officers in their regular duties. This information cannot be aggregated or tracked to individuals. · The assignment of prisoners to correctional facilities and cells, and assignments to undercover law enforcement officers. · Classification that is mandated by federal law. · Classification that is necessary in order to maintain or establish eli-gibility for a federal program in order to prevent a loss of federal funds. · Classification that is mandated by any valid consent decree or court order in force as of the effective date of CRECNO. RECNO data are used at the program and policy level to identify population characteristics and trends, target and address disparities among different populations, and determine, prevent, and enforce against patterns and practices of discrimination. This report focuses on the pro-gram and policy impacts of CRECNO in four main areas: (1) education, (2) public health, (3) law enforcement, and (4) housing and employment discrimination.

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