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

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s governor has signed off on a proposal to assess the racial impact of new legislation in the state.

Democratic Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross of Portland proposed the bill, which is designed to create a process of reviewing new legislation to consider the impact it would have on members of marginalized communities. Talbot Ross called the new law “a powerful tool to enact laws that consider the impact on populations that experience disproportionate outcomes.”

Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, signed the proposal into law on Wednesday. Mills said taking into account the impact of potential new laws on “Maine’s historically disadvantaged populations is important work as we seek to address inequities and ensure equality of opportunity in our state.”

The next step is for Maine’s Legislative Council to study how to implement a system of using racial impact statements, the Maine House Democrats said. The study must be completed by Nov. 1 and a pilot project must start by Dec. 1, the office said.