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Connerly Blasts California Racial Tracking Bill By: Kevin Nguyen
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, September 06, 2002

American Civil Rights Coalition Chair Ward Connerly today blasted a bill pending on the desk of Governor Gray Davis, Assembly Bill 1309 (Goldberg), relating to the government-imposed obligation for businesses to collect racial and gender identity data.

This bill would require most employers and labor unions to file reports annually listing the racial and gender composition of their workforce along with their job classifications. These reports would have to be disclosed to the general public. Failure to do so would be considered an unlawful practice.

AB 1309 “threatens job creation and business growth, especially given our economic recession” by encouraging frivolous lawsuits by private parties alleging unlawful business practices, Mr. Connerly stated in a letter to Governor Davis urging a veto. “Merely having such legislation on the books is an open invitation for attention-grabbing ‘civil rights’ advocates to harass California employers through protests, demonstrations and similar pressure tactics.”

“Californians are tired of the state classifying and tracking them by ‘race, given the arbitrary and constantly shifting categories into which most Californians find themselves,” he continued, citing a Field Poll conducted this past May that showed likely voters opposed to such a practice by a 3-2 margin. “This sentiment in favor of racial privacy, instead of more government snooping and tracking, cuts across racial, gender, partisan, ideological and geographic lines.”

Connerly also predicted that if the governor signs AB 1309, the legislature will eventually add disclosure of salaries and wages to identity and job classifications. “I am certain that most employees don’t want what they earn becoming a matter of public information. But, that is precisely where this legislation leads.”

Among the other opponents of the bill are the California Chamber of Commerce; the California Manufacturers and Technology Association; the American Institute of Architects, California Council; and the Engineering Contractors’ Association.

The governor has until September 30 to sign or veto this and other bills passed and sent to his desk in the last days of the 2001-2002 legislative session.

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