State Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross, D-Portland, watches the proceedings as the Maine Legislature works at the Augusta Civic Center, Wednesday, Dec 2, 2020, in Augusta, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

The Maine Legislature moved closer Thursday to approving a proposal that would allow legislative committees to request racial impact statements on certain bills.

The measure is sponsored by assistant House leader Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross, a Democrat from Portland, who says analyzing a bill’s potential impact on people of color can help prevent harmful outcomes in new laws.

It would begin as a pilot program and allow select legislative committees to request race-related data from state agencies to help measure a bill’s racial impact.

Roughly a half-dozen states have racial impact statements on the books and several legislatures are considering adding them to the lawmaking process.

Talbot Ross’ bill passed the House without a roll call vote and the senate by a margin of 25-7.

It needs to be funded by legislative leaders before going to Gov. Janet Mills for final approval.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.