The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

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The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Utah Legislature Rejects Bid to Put Anti-Equal Opportunity Measure on 2010 Ballot

March 12, 2010 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

Last night, the Utah House of Representatives adjourned for the year without voting on HJR 24, a resolution to place an anti-equal opportunity measure on the state's 2010 ballot.

The resolution, introduced in February, called for a state constitutional amendment banning equal opportunity initiatives in state public higher education, employment, and contracting. 

Equal opportunity initiatives ensure equal access to educational and professional opportunities for qualified minorities, women, and members of other underrepresented communities. Equal opportunity opponent Ward Connerly, a California businessman and millionaire, has sought to enact similar bans on equal opportunity through state ballot referendums all over the country for more than a decade.

The loss in Utah is the second defeat that Connerly and his allies have been dealt by equal opportunity supporters in recent weeks.  In Missouri, Connerly allies filed to withdraw their proposed measure from the ballot rather than face an ACLU lawsuit challenging its language.

To date, Connerly-sponsored measures have passed in California, Washington, Michigan, and, most recently, in Nebraska.  Nebraska was one of five states Connerly targeted in 2008.  Local and national equal opportunity supporters were successful in exposing his deceptive practices and tactics, which kept his measure off the ballot in three states: Arizona, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Voters in the fifth state, Colorado, became the first to reject a Connerly anti-equal opportunity measure.

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