Idaho House passes bill banning affirmative action for state agencies

The Idaho House on Monday voted 55-15 in passing a proposal banning affirmative action for state agencies, state contracting, and public education. Republican Representative Heather Scott, of Blanchard, says her bill prevents hiring discrimination by banning schools, and state and local governments from giving preferential treatment to women or minorities based on their race, sex, ethnicity, or national origin. Speaking in opposition to the bill, Democrat Representative John Gannon of Boise said the bill “allows for discrimination in certain cases” and fails to include religion, sexual orientation, and disability. Kathy Griesmyer, policy director for the ACLU of Idaho, testified Scott’s bill misrepresents how affirmative action programs work. She said such programs don’t grant preferences or create quotas, don’t allow race or gender to be the only criteria used for hiring, and they allow the programs to exist only as long as necessary to remedy existing imbalances in the work environment. The bill now heads to the Senate. (AP, idahonews.com)