California state Treasurer Phil Angelides and Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer have filed a lawsuit in defense of two affirmative action programs. The state-operated programs include outreach efforts that urge the government to accept contracts from minority and woman-owned firms.
Angelides and Lockyer, both Democrats, argue that such efforts are not barred under Proposition 209 and say their filing supports participation goals and outreach programs.
Proposition 209 states “the government shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting.” The controversy of this filing lies in whether or not outreach programs are prohibited under the law, or whether the law’s jurisdiction is limited to cases in which a person’s race or gender is considered upon hiring.
Angelides noted, “There are a lot of people of talent in this state and they come from all races and genders. Nothing is ever lost by letting new people of talent know about the services available in the state.”