Utah lawmakers revisit affirmative action amendment for 2012 ballot
In 2010, Rep. Curtis Oda proposed legislation that called for asking voters if language from the 1964 Civil Rights Act should be added to Utah's Constitution. The language would have prohibited "the State, public institutions of higher education, and political subdivisions from discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting." However, the measure failed to meet the two-thirds vote requirement to qualify for the ballot.
Although the 2010 elections just ended, lawmakers are already preparing for 2012. A similar measure has been to the legislature in hopes of qualifying it for a vote in 2012. The proposed measure would prohibit the state from giving any race- or gender-based preference in education, employment and awarding state contracts. Supporters of the legislation argue that affirmative action in college admissions and hiring practices are creating resentment and animosity. It is supported by Sen. Margaret Dayton, Rep. Curtis Oda and the American Civil Rights Institute.