The Oklahoma House of Representatives has approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would eliminate Affirmative Action in state government.
The proposed amendment passed by a vote of 59-14 Wednesday evening, with 28 members absent or not voting. It had already passed the Senate and will go to a vote of the people next year.
House Joint Resolution was presented by Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, in the absence of House author Leslie Osborn, R-Tuttle. Shannon, a man of African and Chickasaw heritage who is angling to become the state’s first black speaker of the House, said he believes that Affirmative Action has failed.
“I believe discrimination exists,” he said. “I don’t think Affirmative Action has been as successful as we like to believe.”
Watch Sally Kern’s comments
(Starts at 1:16:08 — Video from state House of Representatives website. It is slow to load and requires Microsoft Silverlight to be installed)
Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, said minorities earn less than white people because they don’t work as hard and have less initiative.
“We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that’s tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don’t want to study as hard in school? I’ve taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t study hard because they said the government would take care of them.”
Kern said women earn less than men because “they tend to spend more time at home with their families.”
Rep. Mike Shelton, D-Oklahoma City, said: “This body will quote the Bill of Rights and then talk about Muslims every day. They’ll talk about illegal immigrants every day. They’ll talk about homosexuals.
“Oklahoma is a great state — as long as you fit the profile.”