Sen. Cano’s bill that creates cultural competency training for all state and municipal employees passes the Senate


STATE HOUSE – Sen. Sandra Cano’s (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) legislation (2021-S 0428) which requires the Office of Diversity, Equity and Opportunity (ODEO) to provide all state and municipal employees annual training in cultural competency was passed by the Senate tonight.

“While sexual harassment training has been well known for several years, this would expand upon that idea to include all types of individuals and interactions to hopefully build a far more inclusive, diverse and compassionate state work force.  Our state and its employees will provide better services for our residents if they have a concrete understanding of the many different and diverse lives that inhabit Rhode Island and that is why I introduced this legislation,” said Senator Cano.

The legislation describes cultural competency as an understanding of how institutions and individuals can respond respectfully and effectively to people from all cultures, economic statuses, language backgrounds, races, ethnic backgrounds, disabilities, religions, genders, gender identifications, sexual orientations, veteran statuses and other characteristics in a manner that recognizes, affirms and values the worth, and preserves the dignity, of individuals, families and communities.

The bill orders the ODEO to create and execute a strategic plan for increased cultural competency for all state employees, with the annual training to be provided to municipalities upon request.

“I believe that the state should lead by example and this training will lead to a state that embraces diversity and inclusion and a state government that serves Rhode Islanders with empathy, understanding, and compassion,” said Senator Cano.

Senators Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence), Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence), Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence), Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick), Valarie J. Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence), Leonidas P. Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich), Ana B. Quezada (D-Dist. 2, Providence), James A. Seveney (D-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol, Tiverton), and Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, North Kingstown, Narragansett) are the cosponsors of the legislation.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.



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