Legislative update

Updates on the Minority Fellowship Program, the Health Equity and Accountability Act and other issues related to ethnic minority psychology.

By APA's Public Interest Directorate Government Relations Office

Minority Fellowship Program — The president’s FY2014 budget calls for a $4 million increase to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMSHA) Minority Fellowship Program. The Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services subcommittee has approved an increase of $3 million. We are awaiting action from the full Senate and House on funding for MFP.

Health Equity and Accountability Act — The Congressional Tri-Caucus which consists of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific Caucus are working on the reintroduction of the Health Equity and Accountability Act during the 113th Congress. Introduction of the bill which addresses racial ethnic minority health disparities is slated for the fall of 2013.

Immigration — The Senate passed an immigration reform bill that includes an important provision to APA. Authored by Senator Al Franken, the provision requires the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency to consider the best interests of children in detention, release and transfer decisions affecting their parents, as well as stipulations that require that immigrant parents must receive free, confidential calls to arrange for their children's care while in ICE custody. We are awaiting action in the House of Representatives.

Racial Profiling — Sen. Ben Cardin, Md. and Rep. John Conyers, Mich., have introduced the End Racial Profiling Act of 2013. The bill seeks to work with federal, state and local law enforcement officials to minimize incidents of racial profiling.