Another State Joins Growing List of Those Banning DEI

Utah Joins Growing List of States Banning DEI

( – A growing number of Republican-led states have been pushing back against so-called “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) programs. An outgrowth of political correctness and woke culture, the practice uses an archaic system of attempting to force everything from educational institutions to job sites to consider race, gender, and other labels in everything from academic and work training programs to staffing and hiring practices.

Conservatives like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas have been speaking out and taking action against the practice for decades. He has taken a wrecking ball to Affirmative Action, an earlier and narrowly applied version of DEI programs, comparing it to Jim Crow laws. Additionally, he has consistently voted against those kinds of programs from the bench, most recently joining the other conservative justices to bar race-conscious admissions programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Harvard University in June 2023.

Several states have passed measures banning the use of DEI programs and policies. Utah recently became the latest one to protect its citizens from harm.

Utah Bans Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Programs

On January 30, Utah’s Republican Governor Spencer Cox signed the Equal Opportunities Initiative (HB 261) into law. The measure prohibits governmental employers, public school systems, and institutes of higher learning from requiring individuals to “provide certain submissions or attend […] training” involving DEI “before, during, or after admission or employment.”

Likewise, HB 261 bars those same entities from considering DEI while making decisions “regarding aspects of employment or education.” Additionally, the new law bars governmental employers, state boards, and institutions of higher learning from establishing or maintaining a DEI office.

The new measure empowers the state auditor, the Utah Board of Education, and certain executive agency heads to oversee the enforcement of HB 261 and to “review and report compliance.”

HB 261 Lauded

Gov. Cox praised the passage of HB 261, noting that it provided a “balanced solution” to dealing with the extreme nature of DEI programs, particularly in hiring practices. He also affirmed his belief that Utah is a “stronger” state due to its “diversity” and remains “committed” to keeping it “a place where everyone can thrive.”

The governor concluded his remarks by pointing out that his administration spent the last three years working with “community stakeholders” to expand opportunities for “all Utahans.”

NPR recently reported about Cox’s efforts to address issues involving DEI since he assumed office in 2021. For instance, he signed a measure regulating discussions about religion and race in public schools and prohibiting teachers from teaching that a person can be considered racist solely based on their racial identity.

Cox also signed a measure (HB 257) earlier this year requiring individuals in public schools and other government-owned buildings to use restrooms and locker rooms that match their assigned sex at birth.

Texas and Florida spearheaded the move by Republican-led states to enact laws banning DEI initiatives. The Associated Press recently reported that other states like Oklahoma and Iowa passed similar measures. Inversely, Democratic lawmakers in nine states have introduced measures promoting or requiring DEI programs.

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