The Norman Transcript

September 27, 2012

SQ 759 would stop affirmative action

By Leslie Osborn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — State Question 759 is one of the six questions that will be on the state ballot in November. I was the primary House author of this bill because I feel very strongly about what it stands for.

A “yes” vote on this measure would ensure that Oklahoma government does not continue to grant preferential treatment to or discriminate against any group or individual on the basis of race, sex, color of skin, ethnicity or national origin in the areas of public employment, public education or public contracting.

In layman’s terms, it would end affirmative action being utilized with taxpayer dollars for any function of state government.

Any private organization would still be able to utilize affirmative action with their private dollars in any fashion they desired. Similar measures have passed in California, Washington, Michigan, Nebraska and Arizona.

When affirmative action programs were started in the Kennedy administration, there was a need for this issue to be addressed. Now we have reached a time in education and the workplace where these types of programs have outlived their need.

Prior to becoming a state legislator, I owned my own business for more than twenty years. When filling out bids I was often asked to check the box asking if I was a minority-owned business due to my gender. I always left it blank.

I did not want to receive any job due to my sex, I wanted to receive it because I sold the best product at the best price and provided the best service.

This bill is about fairness for all Oklahomans. This country was built on the principle of merit and all citizens having a right to fair and equal treatment. This measure would ensure we adhere to those standards.

Affirmative action programs also are costly to the taxpayer, at a time when every dollar is needed for the core services of government, education, infrastructure, public safety and taking care of the truly needy.

Administering bid preferences, such as was found in the city of Tulsa, drives up the cost of projects being paid for with tax dollars by requiring that a higher bid be picked at taxpayer expense, due to the bidder’s race or gender, not on the quality of the work being completed.

Passage of SQ 759 would ensure the best bang for the taxpayers’ buck as well as fairness for all Oklahomans when utilizing their dollars.

State Rep. Leslie Osborn, a Republican, is from Tuttle.

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