The Norman Transcript

Election Coverage

September 23, 2012

SQ 759 could limit affirmative action

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Pruitt said he is concerned it could also affect persons with disabilities and veterans.

“We don’t know what the full impact could be,” Pruitt said.

“There are any number of unintended consequences that voters need to consider when they walk into their polling places in November,” Kiesel said.

The measure was co-authored by Tuttle Republican Leslie Osborn. The bill’s authors said if passed, the bill would prohibit discrimination or preferential treatment in public employment, public education and public contracting. Provisions of the amendment would apply to state agencies and subdivisions including public schools and universities.

It would not apply to private businesses. Areas where federal funding requires a commitment to affirmative action would be exempt.

“There’s still not a level playing field,” Harkins said. “Primarily, the benefactors of affirmative action have been women, and we know that women still make 77 cents for every dollar that a man makes. We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.

“With regard to African Americans and other people of color, if you look at the employment numbers, there’s still not a level playing field ... The numbers just don’t bear that out,” she said.

Harkins said the wording of the question is misleading because it says it will remove discrimination. It does not say it will take away Affirmative Action Equal Employment Opportunity.

Joy Hampton366-3539jhampton@normantranscript.com

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