Oklahoma Affirmative Action Ban Amendment, State Question 759 (2012)
|State Question 759|
|Constitution:||Section 36, Article 2|
|Referred by:||Oklahoma State Legislature|
|Status:||On the ballot|
Text of the measure
The ballot language of the measure reads as follows:
|“||This measure adds a new section to the State Constitution. It adds Section 36 to Article II.
The measure deals with three areas of government action. These areas are employment, education and contracting.
In these areas, the measure does not allow affirmative action programs. Affirmative action programs give preferred treatment based on race, color or gender. They also give preferred treatment based on ethnicity or national origin. Discrimination on these bases is also not permitted.
The measure permits affirmative action in three instances. 1. When gender is a bonafide qualification, it is allowed. 2. Existing court orders and consent decrees that require preferred treatment will continue and can be followed. 3. Affirmative action is allowed when needed to keep or obtain federal funds.
The measure applies to the State and its agencies. It applies to counties, cities and towns. It applies to school districts. It applies to other State subdivisions.
The measure applies only to actions taken after its approval by the people.
Shall the proposal be approved?
- State Senator Rob Johnson, who introduced the proposal, stated, "I think we should judge people purely on their qualifications. I think at one point in time there was a need for affirmative action programs, especially right after the civil rights movement, but I think the time has come now where they’re doing more damage than they are good.”
- State Representative Leslie Osborn claimed, “This proposed constitutional amendment makes clear that all men are created equal and should be treated as such by their government. If voters approve this constitutional amendment, state government will not be allowed to discriminate against Oklahoma citizens based on race or gender – period.”
- State Senator Judy Eason McIntyre is against the measure, claiming, "This should not be what brings people to the polls: these kinds of issues that further divide us."
- Senate Democratic leader Andrew Rice said, "It’s just more of a political game. And it will be on the 2012 ballot with an African-American president that is very unpopular in Oklahoma.”
- State Representative Jabar Shumate used the argument that the measure is being used as a tool to rouse residents, claiming, "If there’s no problem and you’re looking for a solution, there has to be a conclusion that there’s an effort to stir up the fears of people."
Path to the ballot
The Oklahoma State Legislature can approve a proposed amendment by a majority vote. However, if the state legislature wants the proposed amendment to be placed on a special election ballot, it has to approve the amendment by a 2/3rds vote.
On March 8, 2011, the measure was approved by the Oklahoma State Senate with a vote of 31-15. It was then sent to the Oklahoma House of Representatives, where a similar vote took place, with the end result being 59-14 in favor. The proposal was then signed and approved on April 27, 2011 for ballot access.
The following is a timeline of events surrounding the measure:
|Approval||Mar. 8, 2011||Senate approved measure, 31 to 15. House approved shortly after.|
|Signature||Apr. 27, 2011||Proposal was signed and approved for ballot access.|
- NECN.com, "GOP lawmakers push to abolish affirmative action", April 5, 2011
- Oklahoma Secretary of State, "STATE QUESTIONS FOR GENERAL ELECTION", Retrieved September 14, 2012
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Diverse Education, "Oklahoma’s GOP Lawmakers Push to Abolish Affirmative Action", April 7, 2011
- Broken Arrow Ledger, "At the Capitol: House OKs anti-discrimination measure", April 28, 2011
- Oklahoma Legislature, "Senate Joint Resolution 15 text", Retrieved April 28, 2011