(5) California Racial Tracking Bill:
California Assembly Bill 1309 (Goldberg) Vetoed!  Proposed Law would have required racial tracking and reporting by all Calif. employers!


Calif. Gov. Gray Davis Vetos Racial Tracking Bill
News Release Oct. 3, 2002

          (SACRAMENTO) – American Civil Rights Coalition Chair Ward Connerly today announced that Assembly Bill 1309 (Goldberg), relating to the government-imposed obligation for businesses to collect racial and gender identity data has been vetoed by Governor Gray Davis.

          Connerly has long argued that government-sanctioned racial classifications create undue legal exposure for the corporate community, increase the cost of doing business and add no value to the bottom line. “I have worried for some time that, eventually, legislators would try to shift additional burdens to be ‘diverse’ onto the backs of businesses,” Connerly stated, “and that is exactly where AB 1309 was going.”

          This bill would have required most employers and labor unions to file reports annually listing the racial and gender composition of their workforce along with their job classifications, and disclose this information to the general public. This bill would have been one more cog in the California Legislature’s Job Killing Machine.

          Californians have demonstrated repeatedly, with the passage of Proposition 209 and consistent polling, that they do not want the government tracking and sorting them by arbitrary and inconsistent racial and ethnic categories. Government resists the will of the people, and continues to dream up new schemes to empower itself to ordain the outcome of who should be hired and admitted to college on the basis of gender, race and ethnicity. AB 1309 would have extended this government tentacle into the private sector. 

          Governor Davis’ veto message states, “Although the bill has merit, it requires an employer to submit specific information on race, sex, and job classification its workforce but does not provide for the confidentiality of these records.”

          Connerly wonders what merit “workforce composition reports” could have in California where racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination and preferences are clearly forbidden by the state constitution. “Why does the legislature keep trying to collect this data when it is unlawful to use it?” he questioned.

          Other opponents of the bill included the California Chamber of Commerce; the California Manufacturers and Technology Association; the American Institute of Architects, California Council; and the Engineering Contractors.

[For further information, contact: Diane Schachterle, ACRC, 916-444-2278]


Ward Connerly Calls for Gov. Davis to Veto Racial Tracking Bill
News Release Sept. 4, 2002


          (SACRAMENTO) – 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.

          Democratic Governor Gray Davis 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.


          The American Civil Rights Coalition actively opposes this racial tracking bill.  ACRC's executive director, Kevin Nguyen, writes:

          "We need your help and involvement *now* to help stop California Governor Gray Davis from signing into law a bill that would constitute a government-imposed obligation for businesses to collect racial and gender identity data and to make it public. In other words, the state would force businesses to openly track people along racial lines, or be in violation of the law. In the interest of curbing government snooping into people's lives and businesses' personnel files, we need to stop this from happening!

          "Assembly Bill 1309 by Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg (D-Los Angeles/Hollywood) 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;
  • "Make these reports be disclosed to the general public;
  • "Make it an unlawful practice for failure to file these reports;
  • "Therefore harm employee privacy and employer competitiveness;
  • "Therefore invite frivolous lawsuits by private parties such as attention-grabbing "civil rights" advocates bent on harassing California employers through protests, demonstrations and similar pressure tactics
  • "Therefore drive more businesses out of the state and discourage others from investing and creating jobs in California;
  • "Therefore thumb its nose at voter concern for greater racial privacy, which was expressed in a May 2002 Field Poll showing a 3-2 margin of across-the-board support for the end of racial tracking and classifications.

          "In addition to the above, AB 1309 would become a job-killing machine, because businesses are already frustrated about doing business in California and this measure would add to their miseries and cause many to abandon California.

          "Because Governor Gray Davis can sign or veto this bill any day between now and September 30, we need you to send a message right away to him reflecting some or all of the above talking points. Show the governor your concern over this government intrusion by writing, calling, faxing and/or e-mailing him at:

Governor Gray Davis
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-445-2841
Fax: 916-445-4633
governor@governor.ca.gov

          "Thank you in advance for your attention and activism for a more color-blind government! Remember, we need your involvement today!"

-- Best regards,
-- Kevin T. Nguyen
-- Executive Director, American Civil Rights Coalition
-- kn@acri.org
-- (916) 444-2278


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