November voters to decide whether to lift California’s ban on affirmative action

California
Mail-in ballots are shown in this file photo. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Mail-in ballots are shown in this file photo. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

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California voters will decide in November whether governments and public colleges and universities can consider race in their hiring, contracting and admissions decisions.

The state has banned affirmative action policies since 1996, when 55% of voters approved a constitutional amendment that banned “preferential treatment” based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.

The state Senate voted 30-10 on Wednesday to repeal that amendment. But voters must approve it in November before it can become law.

The question comes during a time of nationwide protests about racial injustice stemming from the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

California is one of eight states that have banned affirmative action policies. Others include Washington, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Arizona, New Hampshire and Oklahoma. A constitutional amendment in Colorado failed to pass in 2008.

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