The Utah state Senate proposed a ban on affirmative action Friday. According to the Deseret News, the legislation says that the state "may not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin with respect to public employment, public education, or public contracting."
The resolution was approved by a House committee in a 10-4 vote. However, in order for the ban to go into effect, the bill must receive a two-thirds vote in both the state House and Senate, then be signed by Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R), and then approved by Utah voters in the fall 2010 election, reported the Associated Press.Such a ban would not override federal laws such as Title IX, according to the Deseret News.
State Senate President Michael Waddoups (R), claims the "biggest problem is the quota system at the universities," although he could not point out any specific instances when such discrimination occurred, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
"To pull this bill out...and ram it down the throats of this community, is awful," said Utah State Representative Jackie Biskupski, (D) according to the Associated Press. "This is big, and it deserves public input."
According to the Deseret News, Prominent black businessman Ward Connerly of California, who was in town to testify for the bill, said: "The government should not make distinctions; the time has come to move on. We just expect to not be discriminated against." Connerly's efforts have led to affirmative action bans in California, Michigan, Washington, and Nebraska. A similar affirmative action ban supported by Connerly was defeated in Colorado in 2008.
Media Resources: Deseret News 2/11/2010; Associated Press 2/13/2010; The Salt Lake Tribune 2/12/2010; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/27/2009