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March 12, 2001

How Proposition 209 Impacts the Nation

The passage of Proposition 209 has unquestionably affected public employment, contracting and university admission practices in the state. On Tuesday, March 27, California State University, Sacramento will host a panel discussion about the initiative's regional and national impact on public policy.

The discussion will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the CSUS University Union Ballroom and will include representatives from the CSU Chancellor's Office, UC Davis and the Pacific Legal Foundation.

Prop. 209, passed in 1996, bans preferential treatment based on race or gender in public sector education, employment and contracting. The initiative went into effect in August 1997, when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal upheld the proposition's constitutionality and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the lower court's decision.

In November 2000, the California State Supreme Court further affirmed Prop. 209's legality in a case pitting a local contracting firm against the City of San Jose. The case challenged San Jose's requirement that general contractors grant preferential treatment to minority- and women-owned subcontractors when bidding on city contracts more than $50,000.

In the case, Power Providers, a Rancho Cordova-based general contracting firm, was denied a contract to supply a circuit switcher for the city's sewage treatment plant.

The Pacific Legal Foundation sued the City of San Jose because it had rejected Power Providers' $198,760 bid in favor of a $202,314 bid by another firm.

Two lower courts agreed that the San Jose ordinance violated Prop. 209 and the state's highest court agreed unanimously.

The discussion, "Proposition 209: Four Years Later" is part of the University's Year of Unity - a campus-wide commitment to promote an environment of tolerance, understanding and appreciation of the Capital Region's richly diverse society.

Representatives will talk about changes in university admissions and outreach policies, the role of standardized tests in admissions, public contracting requirements and workforce diversity issues.

The discussion is a free event and open to the public. For more information or media assistance contact the CSUS office of pubic affairs at (916) 278-6156.


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