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Black Caucus Introduces Bill to Overturn Prop 209

Tanu Henry, California Black Media

Statewide — The California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) announced March 10 that it has introduced legislation to repeal proposition 209.

The bill is called ACA 5 or the California Act for Economic Prosperity.

“Since becoming law in 1996, Proposition 209 has cost women-and-minority-owned businesses $1.1 billion each year,” said Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), who is chair of the CLBC.

“It has perpetuated a wage gap where women make 80 cents on every dollar made by men and has allowed discriminatory hiring and contracting processes to continue unhindered,” Weber continued.

Weber announced the bill at the California state Capitol flanked by members of the CLBC, the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, other progressive lawmakers, as well as supporters like Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

In 1996, after a heated public debate divided Californians who supported Proposition 209 and those who opposed it, voters passed the ballot initiative.

Also known as the California Civil Rights Initiative, Prop 209 outlawed the consideration of race and gender in hiring, awarding state contracts, college admissions, policymaking, and even in most forms of official state documentation.

The entire CLBC co-authored ACA 5. And supporters range from churches and civil rights organizations to community-based organizations, labor unions and legal aid providers.

Besides Weber, other members of the CLBC are: Senators Steven Bradford (D-Los Angeles) and Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles); and Assemblymembers Autumn Burke (D-South Bay, Los Angeles), Jim Cooper (D-Sacramento), Mike Gipson (D-Carson), Chris R. Holden (D-Pasadena), Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles), and Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento).