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Published August 23, 2022

CFER and PLF Prompted the California State Legislature to Amend the Upward Mobility Bill and Remove Unconstitutional Provisions

PLF is encouraged that California will not be discriminating against those who wish to serve on a state board or commission, and hopefully there will be no further attempts to revive the discriminatory quota scheme,” said Andrew Quinio, PLF attorney.

by

CFER

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For Immediate Release

August 23, 2022

SAN DIEGO, CA – August 23, 2022- Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER), in collaboration with the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), has successfully forced the California State Senate to mandate significant changes to AB1604 so that the amended version complies with the State Constitution, specifically the constitutional ban on racial preferences. As a result of CFER’s monitoring work, the bill, also known as “California’s Upward Mobility Act of 2022” has been amended with portions that might lead to racial preferences and quotas being removed.

“PLF is encouraged that California will not be discriminating against those who wish to serve on a state board or commission, and hopefully there will be no further attempts to revive the discriminatory quota scheme,” said Andrew Quinio, PLF attorney. “The state should now focus on appointing the most talented volunteers regardless of their race and orientation, expanding opportunity for all civil servants, and promoting policies by its boards and commissions that foster prosperity for every Californian.”

“Promoting upward mobility is no excuse for instituting racial preferences,” commented Saga Conroy, CFER secretary. “The California state legislature did the right thing to amend AB1604 so that it aligns with the state constitution.”

Prior to being amended, AB 1604 contained a mandate for all state boards and commissions consisting of one or more volunteer members to have at least one board member or commissioner from an underrepresented community. In October 2021, AB1604’s precedent – AB105 was vetoed by Governor Newsom citing concerns about its constitutionality, concerns voiced by CFER as the bill’s principal organized opposition. This year, we teamed up with the PLF, continuing to shine a light on the unconstitutional nature of instituting discriminatory quotas for state boards and commissions. We consistently make the firm argument that quotas for these volunteer positions fundamentally violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution as well as California’s constitutional guarantee of equal treatment (Prop. 209).

We are encouraged by this unexpected development, in lieu of a Democratic supermajority at the California State Legislature, as it demonstrates the success of CFER as a watchdog group that monitors state bills and other policy proposals pertaining to equality and merit. State lawmakers acknowledged the merits of our argument and demanded the bill author make large concessions so that the finalized proposal aligns with the State Constitution. At the same time, AB1604’s proponents included many powerful groups, such as the California Insurance Commission, Association of California State Employees, California Teachers Association, and Hewlett-Packard Company, the State Legislature has considered our well-grounded reasoning and warning that an unconstitutional bill would invite future legal challenges.

Contact:

Wenyuan Wu

wenyuan.wu@cferfoundation.org

(786) 393-8028

About Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER):

We are a non-partisan and non-profit organization established following the defeat of Proposition 16 in 2020, with a mission to defend and raise public awareness on the cause of equal rights through public education, civic engagement and community outreach. In 1996, California became the first U.S. state to amend its constitution by passing Proposition 209 to ban racial discrimination and preferences. Prop. 209 requires that “the state 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.” CFER is dedicated to educating the public on this important constitutional principle of equal treatment.

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