Monday, February 23, 2009

Obama's 3rd nominee for Commerce Secretary tried to pass a bill in 2004 for racial quotas in college admissions

Washington Governor Gary Locke is Obama's 3rd nominee for Commerce Secretary. In 2004, he tried to pass a bill that would force for racial quotas in college admissions for the State's Universities.

Race bill unlikely to see action
By Randy Trick
The UW Daily Online, 2004-02-06

"A governor's request bill allowing institutions of higher education to use race as a factor in admissions decisions will likely die today from lack of support.

"The race consideration bill, which had hearings in both the House and the Senate, will not make the deadline, say lawmakers. The bill seeks to repeal part of Initiative 200 which ended affirmative action [racial preferences and quotas] in the state in 1998.

"Senate Bill 6268, received a favorable hearing in the Senate Higher Education Committee, and was approved there. However, the bill then transferred to the Judiciary Committee, chaired by Bob McCaslin, R-Colfax, where it has not received consideration, and likely will not.

"The House version of the bill 2700, received a much more animated hearing, as opponents of the bill and the original sponsors of I-200 testified.

"The bill will not receive a vote in the House Higher Education Committee, chair Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney, D-Seattle. She said she does not have enough votes in favor of the bill. She is a co-sponsor of the bill.

"It's the right thing to do,' Kenney said. 'I commend the governor for doing that. If you don't try, you never know.'

"Kenney said part of the reason the bill did not have enough support in her committee is because it is an election year, and amending an initiative dealing with affirmative action [racial quotas] is tough to get behind. She suggested that next year a similar bill would have a better prospect.

"At the UW, the impending defeat of the bill was disappointing to those in the Office of Minority Affairs."

'The University made clear it supports this as a way to improve [forced] diversity,' said Enrique Morales, the office's assistant vice president in charge of outreach and recruitment. 'While we have made headway, the legislation would have given us the ability to consider different backgrounds and experiences based on race and ethnicity.'

"According to Morales, the debate over the topics like affirmative action [racial quotas] and [forced] diversity are prone to misunderstanding.

"The issue 'is divisive based on the ways it can be misunderstood,' said Morales. 'I would like to hope that, while the bills may be dead, the discussions will continue.'
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