State Question 759 looks to be the most controversial of all the questions proposed this year. The purpose of the question is to block any kind of preferential treatment of any person based on race or gender. The text of the question is as follows:
This measure adds a new section to the State Constitution. It adds Section 36 to Article II.
The measure deals with three areas of government action. These areas are employment, education and contracting.
In these areas, the measure does not allow affirmative action programs. Affirmative action programs give preferred treatment based on race, color or gender. They also give preferred treatment based on ethnicity or national origin. Discrimination on these bases is also not permitted.
The measure permits affirmative action in three instances. 1. When gender is a bonafide qualification, it is allowed. 2. Existing court orders and consent decrees that require preferred treatment will continue and can be followed. 3. Affirmative action is allowed when needed to keep or obtain federal funds.
The measure applies to the State and its agencies. It applies to counties, cities and towns. It applies to school districts. It applies to other State subdivisions.
The measure applies only to actions taken after its approval by the people.
Many critics of the question claim that it is unnecessary. They claim that such preferential treatment is not happening within the state. They also claim that this question would limit certain types of scholarships made available at state universities.
Of course, there is little evidence of any kind of harm that would come about by the passing of this question.
However, the language of the question and the nature under which it was proposed create other issues. This language is structured in such a way as to interest Republican leaning voters in coming out to vote. Many conservative white voters will be very interested in seeing something like this pass and will be coming out to support it.
This makes two questions so far, SQ 758 being the first, that are written in such a way as to pander to a more conservative leaning voter block. With that in mind, and the fact that this is not needed, I cannot support this question.
Vote “No” on SQ 759.