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Controversial Anti-DEI bill passes the House

Screenshot from KET
Senate Bill 6 passed the House 68-18

Senate Bill 6, the controversial Anti-DEI bill, passed the House floor today, 68-18 along party lines. 

The latest version would require Kentucky’s public colleges and universities to eliminate all diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, offices and positions by July, among other wide-reaching provisions.

  It adds in most of Rep. Jennifer Decker’s (R-Waddy) House Bill 9, another anti-DEI bill filed this session.

Rep Al Gentry, (D-Louisville) asked Decker if she would like to see the state follow Florida in the elimination of DEI programs in public universities. 

“I would like to see Kentucky adopt this bill,” Decker said. 

During the debate, Decker cited Attorney General Russell Coleman’s opinion article, which was released yesterday afternoon. 

In the opinion, Coleman said public universities’ use of certain diversity, equity and inclusion policies violates the U.S. Constitution and the Civil Rights Act.

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2023 decision in Students for Fair Admissions makes clear that the (CPE, Council on Postsecondary Education) defining ‘underrepresented minority’ exclusively in terms of race, and accordingly, requiring that Kentucky’s state-funded postsecondary institutions set targets for how many students of a particular race they will enroll, retain, and graduate, violates the U.S. Constitution and the Civil Rights Act,” Coleman said. 

Rep. Rachel Roarx (D-Louisville) asked Decker about DEI programs being unconstitutional and discriminatory. 

“Funding such as scholarships, or funding for institutions, that goes towards a protected class as defined in the bill’s definition of diversity, equity and inclusion has those types of funding that are dedicated to particular types of protected classes been deemed unconstitutional or discriminatory by the US Supreme Court.” Roarx asked.

Decker said the case of Fair Admissions v. Harvard was found unconstitutional and implied funding through scholarships.  

“The Attorney General of Kentucky yesterday, issued an opinion saying that any practice that is based on race exclusive policies is unconstitutional,” Decker said. “These are race exclusive policies.”

Rep. Keturah Herron (D-Louisville) said it’s unfortunate legislators are taking experiences from individuals to create policies to destroy things that help people in the state. 

“We’re also helping the people who are least marginalized and the people at the top,” Herron said. “I believe that if we continue to pass policy out of this chamber without keeping the people who are most marginalized at the center, we are doing a disservice to ourselves, and we are doing a disservice to the generations to come.”

The bill now moves to the Governor’s office.

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About the Contributor
Jill Smith
Jill Smith, Co-Editor In Chief/News Editor
Jillian Smith is Co-EIC and News Editor at The News. Smith is a graduate student pursuing a Masters of Science in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. Smith is also a Graduate Assistant in Student Affairs. Beyond working and class, Smith enjoys reading, coffee, and listening to music.

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