Filed bills would ban special treatment due to race, gender
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
State Senator Jim Summerville filed several bills in the Tennessee General Assembly Thursday, aimed at banning preferential treatment based on race, gender or ethnicity.
The proposed legislation would apply only to public sector employment, including Tennessee's public colleges and universities, public school systems, and the awarding of public contracts.
The legislation would also abolish the "diversity officer" job category and prohibit state agencies from compiling statistics relating to race, gender or ethnicity.
Nashville's News 2 spoke with the State Senator via telephone.
"You know, nobody in our country regardless of race, ethnicity or gender needs a thumb on the scale or a few extra points because of those reasons. Everyone who has the ability, the determination to succeed in our country can do it regardless of any of those categories," Summerville told Nashville's News 2.
He cited other states who have passed similar legislation.
"California's done this, Michigan has done this, I'd like to be the first state in the south, especially as this is where Dr King died, to say we're all Americans, we wont judge each other by gender, skin color, or anything else except our ability to work and to do and to apply ourselves," said Summerville.
Nashville's News 2 also spoke with students at Tennessee State University. They insisted that diversity is important in the workplace, and that opportunity must be shared by all.
"I think everybody should have an equal opportunity to apply for a job no matter the skin color or no matter the race," said Duvall Young, a TSU Grad student.
"People don't need to look at color, they need to look at the educational background," said Latia Carney, a TSU sophomore.
The General Assembly takes a two week break, reconvening to contemplate new legislation after Governor Bill Haslam's state-of-the-state address.