In 1998, right-wing conservatives Tim Eyman and John Carlson led the passage of Initiative 200 (I-200), described by many as the most racist and sexist ballot measure ever passed in Washington state history.
With the passage of I-200, Washington became only the second state in America to ban the use of Affirmative Action programs to recruit, admit, hire or contract with women and people of color in public education, public employment and public contracting.
According to Teresa Berntsen, Director of the Office of Women and Minority Business Enterprises, “Since the passage of I-200, state spending with certified minority and woman-owned businesses has plummeted from 10% to a 3% average of available state contracting and procurement dollars. This 7% drop in state spending has resulted in a $3.5 billion dollar loss to small, minority and woman-owned businesses over the last 20 years.”
REPEAL I-200 LEGISLATIVE HISTORY
Since the passage of I-200, State Representative Sharon Tomiko-Santos and other legislators have sponsored numerous bills to repeal I-200. This year, for the first time in I-200’s twenty year history, Senate Bill 6406, the first Senate bill to repeal I-200, was endorsed by Rep. Tomiko-Santos and sponsored by Senators Maralyn Chase, Rebecca Saldana, Bob Hasegawa, John McCoy, Lisa Wellman, Karen Keiser and Patty Kuderer. SB 6406 successfully passed both the Senate State Government and Rules Committees, and advanced all the way to the Senate floor, but received no action by the Democratically controlled Washington State Senate.
However, the unprecedented progress of Senate Bill 6406 ignited a powerful statewide movement of business, labor, students, faculty, clergy, Democrats and Republicans to repeal I-200. Organizations led by Democrats for Diversity and Inclusion (DDI), Washington State Labor Council (WSLC), El Centro De La Raza, Tabor 100, NAACP, Faith Action Network (FAN), Washington State Civil Rights Coalition, Tacoma/Pierce County Collective, the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC), Martin Luther King County Labor Council, Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE), and many others formed a statewide Diversity coalition with one unified goal: To take the movement for diversity in education, jobs, and business out of the hands of the politicians and into the hands of the people…the voters of Washington state.
On April 30, 2018, Estela Ortega, Co-Founder and Executive Director of El Centro De La Raza, filed both Initiative 1644 (Initiative to the People) and Initiative 1000 (Initiative to the Legislature), the first ballot initiatives to repeal I-200 and bring Diversity back to Washington state.
On Saturday, May 19, 2018, the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC), representing more than 450,000 registered voters statewide, voted unanimously to endorse both I-1644 and I-1000.
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Top Five (5) Contributors: Democrats for Diversity & Inclusion (DDI), TABOR 100, El Centro De La Raza, NAACP, & National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC)