FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2021
Pierce County Council continues commitment to equity with new legislation
Two pieces of legislation unanimously passed by the Pierce County Council this week reinforce its commitment to equity, and work toward Council's goal to have future policy decisions weighed and considered against a pre-determined set of factors before adoption.
In a bipartisan effort, members drafted two resolutions using recommendations presented in 2020 by Council’s Law and Justice Review Committee. Made up of Pierce County residents, the committee analyzed data from law enforcement and the judicial branch to craft recommendations for future improvement.
The legislation adopted Tuesday dovetail to create a system that will result in more equitable distribution of county services and resources, no matter where people live.
Through R2021-108s the county Executive is requested to create a new tool to provide Council a breakdown of equity impacts that can be used to evaluate countywide policy and service proposals before they are adopted.
“Across Pierce County we can see the impacts of inequitable distribution of services,” said Councilmember Marty Campbell, who proposed the equity index tool. “The data is empowering us to invest in the outcomes we want. We will be evaluating our policies not just for fiscal impacts, but also the impacts it has on all residents. This is a people-first approach to government.”
Through passage of R2021-109 Council created an Equity Review Committee that would be predominately composed of Pierce County residents. It also created a framework to make sure future policy-level decision-making uses the equity index when applicable.
“This proposal builds off the momentum of our citizen review committee,” said Pierce County Council Vice Chair Dave Morell. “I think it will be impactful to our urban, suburban and rural communities. I look forward to the Executive putting forth good recommendations on this, and I look forward to assembling another committee that will review those recommendations.”
Councilmember Ryan Mello commended members’ willingness to come together, noting this is an important step toward making county government more approachable.
“This sets in motion the human infrastructure to carry out this work,” Mello said. “How do we do our part to make sure your income, your skin color, your ZIP code doesn’t dictate your life expectancy? This puts that foundational infrastructure in place and creates a crucial step: A citizen committee to lay early groundwork.”
The legislation now goes to the Executive to create a list of indicators, with a focus on equity. Nearly 30 indicators were proposed by Council and include things like access to broadband internet and healthy food, and livability and economic impacts. Ultimately the Executive will decide what to include and will send the list to the newly formed Equity Review Committee. The goal is for the process to be in place by next summer.