Oklahoma Affirmative Action Ban Amendment, State Question 759 (2012)

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Affirmative Action Ban Amendment
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Section 36, Article 2
State code:n/a
Referred by:Oklahoma State Legislature
Topic:Affirmative action
Status:On the ballot
The Oklahoma Affirmative Action Ban Amendment will appear on the 2012 ballot in the state of Oklahoma as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure would ban affirmative action programs in the state, and would prohibit special treatment based on race or sex in public employment, education and contracts. It was introduced by State Senator Rob Johnson and State Representative Leslie Osborn. Co-sponsors of the measure included John Trebilcock, Mike Jackson and David Derby. More sponsors can be found here.[1]

Support

Arguments

  • 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.”[2]
  • 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.”[3]

Opposition

Opponents

  • 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."[2]
  • 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.”[2]

Arguments

  • 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."[2]

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.[4]

Timeline

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The following is a timeline of events surrounding the measure:

Event Date Developments
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.

See also

References