Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Senate Approves Anti-Discrimination Bill

Senator Rob Johnson
The Senate has approved a measure that would allow voters to approve an amendment prohibiting discrimination and preferential treatment in state government.

Authored by Senator Rob Johnson, Senate Joint Resolution 15 would ban programs that give preferential treatment to, or discriminate against, any individual or group on the basis of race, color, sex, ethnicity or national origin.

The law would prohibit such considerations in public employment, public education and public contracting.

“I think most Oklahomans would agree their tax contributions should not support programs that enable discrimination or preferential treatment,” said Johnson, R-Kingfisher. “In order for state government to be more efficient and adaptable, we need to hire the best possible talent regardless of race, sex or ethnicity.”

The amendment would apply to agencies and political subdivisions of the state, including public schools and public universities. The provisions would apply only to actions taken after the effective date of the law.

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs' Jonathan Small offers thoughts on this measure at".

“I believe the concept of equal opportunity is fundamental to the American identity,” Johnson said. “When government bodies are able to determine the fitness of an applicant based in part on their ethnicity, sex or place of birth, I believe we’ve lost sight of what equal opportunity really means. This measure gives Oklahoma voters the opportunity to restore a measure of fairness in state government hiring and contracting.”

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