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Oklahoma voters to decide fate of affirmative action - KOAM TV 7

Oklahoma voters to decide fate of proposal to ban affirmative action

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Next month Oklahoma voters will decide the fate of a proposal to ban affirmative action in the state.

Quotas for hiring were banned in the state in the 1980's but state entities are still required to meet goals and submit information about diversity.

Proposal 749 adds a new section to Oklahoma's state constitution.  It would ban affirmative action programs in the state, and would prohibit special treatment based on race or sex in public employment, education and contracts.

"The ballot issue would do away with affirmative action per say in Oklahoma," says District 7 state representative Larry Glenn.

Glenn is one of only 14 congressmen in Oklahoma's House of Representatives who voted against the ban before it was put on November's ballot.  He says the amendment may do more harm than good.

"We are a recipient state in Oklahoma - we receive more federal dollars and contracts than we send to Washington," says Glenn.  "Since they do require affirmative action on some contracts and jobs this may take us off the list on some federal spending for projects."

It isn't just federal level funding that worries opponents.  Educational institutions such as NEO A&M in Miami may also see changes.

"It's important that we're recruiting and I think it would be an extreme detriment if we didn't have the affirmative action plan in place here at NEO," says Evan Jewsbury, the Human Resources Director for NEO College.

NEO's current affirmative action policies sets goals and recruits under represented groups, however, the passage of this amendment could change that.

Those in favor of the ban say affirmative action creates reverse racism.

Other issues on Oklahoma's November 6 ballot include eliminating the Human Services Commission and reducing the maximum annual increase in property assessments of homes and agricultural land.

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