Statement by Senator Yee regarding SCR 1012

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SCR 1012 is a pro-Asian resolution brought to my office by an Asian advocacy group called Asian Pacific Community in Action and has been supported by numerous leaders and medical doctors in the Asian American community in Arizona.  The intention of Senate Concurrent Resolution 1012 (SCR 1012) is to bring awareness to the different needs and requirements of ethnic minority communities, and specifically the unique health requirements within the different segments of Asian Americans living in Arizona.  As many of us know, “Asian-American” is often an all-encompassing term for what is a very large community representing more than 50 ethnic backgrounds and more than 100 different languages.

Grouping health data for all Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, as is currently done, can hide real differences between sub-groups. For example, there are substantial differences in the incidences of diabetes. When all the data is combined, it hides high rates of diabetes in Filipino, Indian and Samoan communities. If communities and their health providers do not know about these high rates, patients may continue to be left unaware and potentially suffer from preventable medical complications from their condition. No community wants to see an increase in declining health and death rates.

Last year, a request for legislation was brought forward by the advocacy group Asian Pacific Community in Action whose membership is made of a diverse group of Asians from across Arizona whose goal is to “meet the health related needs of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander individuals and families residing in Arizona.” They found availability of highly-detailed health information would allow for a more accurate and targeted approach to address each specific communities’ health care and societal needs.

Due to the costs of implementing such a program, and the State’s current budget constraints, it was concluded that the best way to move forward was to make these concerns known through an SCR. SCRs are not ‘bills’ but are commonly used to bring awareness to an important topic.

This SCR made a recommendation to study this issue and there were no requirements.  I have a longstanding record for advocating for data privacy and have sponsored and passed bills to enhance the privacy of personal data.   This SCR served to bring to light an important public health message as it affects our Asian community.  No action would be taken going forward that would not consider required state and federal health and privacy laws.