Back 

Affirmative Action State Action

Affirmative Action: State Action

Additional Affirmative Action Information

NCSL Education Program

April 2014

Approved Measures

Oklahoma - State Question 759 (2012)
Voters approved legislative referendum prohibiting the state from granting preferential treatment to or discriminating against any individual or group on the basis of race, color, sex, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

New Hampshire - House Bill 0623 (2011)
In 2011, New Hampshire passed a law (effective Jan. 1, 2012) that prohibits preferential treatment or discrimination in recruiting, hiring, promotion, or admission based on race, sex, national origin, religion, or sexual orientation. The law applies to state agencies, the university system, the community college system, and the postsecondary education commission.

Arizona - Proposition 107 (2010)
Voters approved a measure that the Legislature referred to the ballot, prohibiting the state from granting preferential treatment to or discriminating against any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in public employment, education and contracting. The initiative is similar to those seen previously in California, Colorado, Michigan, Nebraska and Washington, but this is the first time a state legislature has put this question on the ballot. In the other instances, the ballot measure was a citizen initiative. 

Read more: Inside Higher Ed, "Arizona Bans Affirmative Action," Nov. 3, 2010.

Nebraska - Initiative 424 (2008)
Nebraska's ballot measure, Initiative 424, was passed by voters. The initiative eliminates affirmative action programs at state colleges and universities.

Washington - Initiative 200 (1998); California - Proposition 209 (1996)
California and Washington passed similar laws that prohibit state and local agencies from granting preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in public education, public employment or public contracting. These state initiatives have eliminated affirmative action programs at all public colleges and universities in California and Washington.

California - "Four Percent Plan" (1999)
This plan guarantees that students who graduate in the top four percent statewide or in the top four percent of their high school class, and who meet various subject and testing requirements, will be admitted to at least one school in the University of California system. The students are not guaranteed admission to the institution of their choice. Beginning in the fall of 2012, the plan is expanding to include graduates in the top nine percent of their class, or in the top nine percent statewide.

Florida - Executive Order 99-281, “One Florida" (1999)
In 1999 Florida's Governor, Jeb Bush, issued Executive Order 99-281, known as the “One Florida” initiative. The Executive Order prohibits the use of affirmative action in state schools' admissions policies, as well as in government employment and state contracting. The One Florida initiative was designed to replace race-based admissions with a set of reforms in the P-12 system that will better prepare all students, regardless of race or ethnicity, for college success. These reforms include the creation of the Talented Twenty program, which guarantees all high school students who finish in the top 20 percent of their class acceptance to one of Florida's 11 public colleges and universities. At the same time, One Florida significantly increased funding for need-based financial aid. The One Florida initiative also created a partnership between Florida and the College Board to improve college readiness. The partnership has increased the number of students, particularly low-income and minority students, enrolling in and passing Advanced Placement (AP) classes.

Texas - HB 588, “10 Percent Plan” (1997)
In response to a federal appeals court's ruling in Hopwood vs. Texas that ended affirmative action policies at Texas public colleges and universities, legislators passed House Bill 588. Popularly referred to as the "10 Percent Plan," the legislation requires the Texas higher education system to admit all students who finish in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class to the public institution of their choice. The law delineates 18 academic and socioeconomic criteria that state colleges and universities can consider when making admission decisions for students who do not fall within the top ten percent of their class. In 2009, the legislature passed Senate Bill 175 limiting the percentage of students accepted under the 10 Percent Plan to 75 percent of an institution’s incoming first-year, resident class. The University of Texas-Austin was projected to have to fill 100 percent of its 2013 class with students from the 10 Percent Plan. SB 175 places a cap on the percent plan to allow some institutional flexibility in admission decisions.

California - SP-1 (1995)
In July 1995, the Regents of the University of California (UC) voted to pass resolution SP-1, a policy eliminating the consideration of race, ethnicity and gender in admission decisions for schools in the UC system. In the years immediately following the passage of SP-1, the numbers of underrepresented minorities (African Americans, American Indians, Chicanos and Latinos) admitted to and enrolling in the UC system dropped. Since 1998, however, the number of underrepresented minorities on all UC campuses, including the most selective campuses, has been steadily increasing. This resolution was later rescinded in 2001 by the Regents. 

Michigan - Proposal 2 (2006) 
Proposal 2 prohibits state and local agencies from granting preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in public education, public employment or public contracting. In 2011, a three-panel federal appeals court ruled that Michigan's Proposal 2 is unconstitutional, thus overturning the ban on affirmative action in college admissions in Michigan. This ruling was upheld by the full 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2012. In October 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Proposition 2 and in April 2014 ruled in a 6-2 decision that voters may prohibit affirmative action in public universitites, thus overturning the lower court's decision and upholding Proposition 2. 

 

Failed Measures

Colorado - Amendment 46 (2008)
In November 2008, Amendment 46 was narrowly defeated by Colorado voters. The amendment would have prohibited any discrimination or preferential treatment by the State of Colorado in public employment, public education, and public contracting. With the defeat of this measure, Colorado became the first state to reject an anti-affirmative action ballot initiative, and affirmative action programs at Colorado postsecondary institutions have continued to exist.

 

 

Share this: 
New Members Welcome
Fall Forum 2014
We are the nation's most respected bipartisan organization providing states support, ideas, connections and a strong voice on Capitol Hill.

NCSL Member Toolbox

Denver

7700 East First Place
Denver, CO 80230
Tel: 303-364-7700 | Fax: 303-364-7800

Washington

444 North Capitol Street, N.W., Suite 515
Washington, D.C. 20001
Tel: 202-624-5400 | Fax: 202-737-1069

Copyright 2014 by National Conference of State Legislatures