Anti-Affirmative Action Bill Stalls in Tenn. Senate

Feb 14, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal to eliminate affirmative action initiatives from higher education institutions has stalled in the Tennessee Senate.

The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Jim Summerville of Dickson was deferred in the Senate Education Committee after committee members expressed concern with the bill's language.

As written, the legislation would prohibit colleges and universities from granting preference "based on race, gender or ethnicity ... to any student or employee of the public institution."

State Rep. Joe Armstrong of Knoxville, and a member of the Tennessee legislature’s Black Caucus, says the proposal is sending the wrong message'

“Particularly when Tennessee is trying to attract companies like Volkswagen, and those that are here (we’re) trying to encourage them to expand. And I think it sends the wrong message, not only to Tennesseans, but to anyone that’s thinking about investing, coming and living in Tennessee."

The committee deferred the bill for a week amid concerns that the current legislation could run afoul of federal law and possibly cost the state funding.