Affirmative Action In Florida

.. of $3 million. These innovations will hopefully encourage more minorities to apply for certification. Once certification is no longer an issue, the task of building relationships between procuring agents and minority businesses must be addressed. One major problem that Bush sees is that much of Florida’s state business is done as a result of long-standing relationships between State procurement agents and vendors, minority businesses often find it difficult to 7 break in(Equity in Contracting).

Seeing as the bulk of the minority population and its businesses are located in South Florida, ONE FLORIDA proposes that by moving the Office to the Department of Management Services, where the majority of procurement activities take place, the Office will be more successful in helping procurement agents find and recruit qualified minority businesses (Equity in Contracting). ONE FLORIDA will also improve on financial and technical assistance programs that aid in the development of minority businesses, minority construction firms, and minority franchises. Governor Bush will implement what he calls a ‘lending tree’ of banks which would form loan pools for contract loans, lines of credit, and capital infusion (Improvements) to help develop legitimate minority enterprises. Also being proposed is a race-neutral program of assistance to firms in economically disadvantaged areas (Equity in Contracting). However, businesses will still be required to prove that they are minority owned, and the penalties for fraud will be severe and strictly enforced.

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Through the many revisions of ONE FLORIDA, non-discrimination still remains a key point in the program. For instance, the plan calls for a system that will allow the state to effectively investigate and punish discrimination by state procurement agents (Improvements). The plan goes on to state that state employees determined to have participated in race or gender discrimination will undergo disciplinary action, up to and including termination (Improvements). In the case of businesses, [those] found to have filed a complaint of discrimination in bad faith will be barred from competing for State business for a period not to exceed five years (Improvements 3). ONE FLORIDA , although determined to eliminate hiring and contracting based on race and gender, is designed to still protect the rights of the individual against discrimination. 8 Opponents of ONE FLORIDA, such as Attorney General Bob Butterworth argue that any anti-affirmative action plan is still discriminatory and unconstitutional. In a Sun-Sentinel news article, he is quoted as saying, the ballot measures’ language violates many requirements constitutional amendments must meet before being put before voters (qtd.

in Kennedy). He goes on to add, you must be fair, you cannot deceive the public, and that’s what [these initiatives] do (qtd. in Kennedy). Butterworth’s argument is only valid when discussing the precise language in ONE FLORIDA. The term people is used in its summary, whereas the term persons is used in the text of the document.

Persons under Florida law can be considered to include corporations, while people may not (Kennedy). Butterworth considers this to be another ambiguity that should bar the measures from the ballot (qtd. in Kennedy). Butterworth and his supporters are trying to fight the ONE FLORIDA proposition not on the Constitutional rights of freedom and equality, but on constitutional technicalities. Sun-Sentinel writer, John Kennedy describes how the Florida Constitution places strict requirements on ballot initiatives..the most rigorous is that a measure may encompass only one subject (Kennedy).

The fact that ONE FLORIDA touches on education employment, and contracting is enough to give affirmative action supporters the grounds they need to bring their case before the Florida Supreme Court. However, according to the above news article, 435,329 registered voters’ signatures are needed to place amendments to the Constitution before voters..only 43,500 were collected (Kennedy). Anti-affirmative action advocates have already countered with the circulation of four petitions: the first initiative bans affirmative action in public employment, public education, and public contracting, and the other three target individual areas. Butterworth still contends that each initiative still violates the single-subject rule (qtd. in Kennedy). 9 The question of ONE FLORIDA being constitutional or not should not be based on precise language and technicalities. We live in a country based on the rights of the individual.

Our Bill of Rights is comprised of ideas to protect the average citizen from moral and societal wrongs. Amendments XV (1870) and XIX (1920) gave the fundamental right to vote to minorities and women respectively. These amendments furthered the thinking of our forefathers who founded this country on the beliefs of freedom and equality for all. The creators of the Constitution modeled it as a living document, whereas it could change as society did. In the 1960’s and 1970’s affirmative action was the right course for our country to take.

Discrimination and segregation ran rampant in those decades and a solution was needed to ensure civil rights for every American regardless of race, gender, or national origin. Today though, this sort of thinking is out-of-date as society’s views of our diverse population have expanded. We live in a society now that not only encompasses whites and African-Americans, but persons from every corner of the world. The gay movement in the United States has provided us with yet another segment of the population which needs protecting, but none of these groups should ever have an advantage over another just because they belong to a particular group. America must always remain diversified in order to remain a world power.

Our diversification makes us the beautiful Melting Pot that the rest of the world looks up to. With the implementation of ONE FLORIDA in our own South Florida melting pot, we will see more diversification and opportunities than ever before. Due to extra funding for education, standardized tests and practice exams will now be afforded to every high school student planning to attend college, no matter if they attend an A school or an F school (Improvements to the ONE FLORIDA Initiative). Programs initiated by Governor Bush will give children the motivation to improve themselves in school, instead of just getting by 10 because preferential treatment is shown them. Our children will now be received solely on merit not only in Florida state universities, but universities around the country as well.

After college many opportunities will be available to them in the work force because of ONE FLORIDA. Quotas by that time will be completely abolished, giving every man and woman an equal opportunity enter into the career they have been properly prepared for in school. Those that choose to go into business for themselves will have the backing of the great State of Florida. Contracting and procurement will be open to all facets of business, especially those that are minority owned. With ONE FLORIDA also comes more stringent penalties for discrimination (Equity in Contracting).

The greatest myth of anti-affirmative action is that we will return to kind of society we abandoned in the 60′ and 70’s. ONE FLORIDA will still provide protection against the archaic thinking of those decades. ONE FLORIDA does not advocate discrimination, only that race, gender, and national origin should be taken out of the equation when it comes to education, hiring, and contracting. Governor Bush has come up with the solution needed in this state without returning to the old-fashioned ideas of quotas, preferences, and lowering job standards to make all South Floridians equal. There is such a thing as diversification without discrimination and Bush has done the right thing by following the anti-affirmative action practices already implemented in other states. Plans in both California and Texas have already proven to be successful.

If ONE FLORIDA makes it to the ballot this November, Governor Bush, as well as all South Floridians, will be waiting with bated breath as we see the outcome. In his own words, Governor Bush states that there are two paths to diversity in Florida: diversity can be achieved by preferential treatment or diversity can be achieved by expanding opportunity, outreach and recruitment. ONE FLORIDA seeks to expand opportunity (Myths). 11 Sources Cited Anderson, Ronald A., Ivan Fox, and David P. Twomey.

Business Law & the Legal Environment. Ed. Robert Dewey. 16th ed. Cincinnati, OH: Southwestern Publishing. 1996. 757.

Bloch, Farrell. Antidiscrimination Law and Minority Employment. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press. 1994.

48-49, 70. Bopp, William J., and Donald O. Schultz. Principles of American Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice. Springfield, IL: Thomas.

1972. 377. Bush, Jeb. Equity in Contracting Plan. One Florida.

1999. 10 June 2000 **. —. Equity in Education. One Florida. 1999.

10 June 2000 **. —. Equity in Hiring. One Florida. 1999.

10 June 2000 **. —. ONE FLORIDA Myths. 1999. 10 June 2000 **. —. Improvements to the ONE FLORIDA Initiative.

One Florida. 2000. 10 June 2000 **. Geller, Steven. Personal interview.

9 June 2000. Kennedy, John. Top Lawyer Says Ballot Items Illegal. Sun-Sentinel 24 Nov. 1999: 6B. O’Neil, Robert M.

Discriminating Against Discrimination. Ontario: Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited. 1985. 68-69. Skrentny, John David.

The Ironies of Affirmative Action. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press. 1996. 6-7.

ii Outline Thesis: Recently Governor Bush has pushed for the passage of a plan he calls ONE FLORIDA, an executive order to abolish affirmative action in the state of Florida. Through the history of affirmative action in our country and its ensuing abolition, politicians and society at large are ever debating the merits of a racially based admissions, hiring, and contracting program. I.The term affirmative action predates the civil rights movement. II.Governor Bush’s Talented 20 program guarantees admission to Florida state universities to the top 20% of graduating classes. III.It is a proven fact that students who are not properly prepared for postsecondary education do not fare well. IV.With success in school, comes the hope of success in the work place.

V.Governor Bush has put his theory of diversification without the sacrifice of quality into practice in his own administration. VI. The problems of certifications and procurements in contracting must be addressed. VII.Through the many revisions of ONE FLORIDA, non-discrimination still remains a key point of the program. VIII.Opponents of ONE FLORIDA that any anti-affirmative action plan is both discriminatory and unconstitutional. IX.Our Bill of Rights is comprised of ideas to protect the average citizen from moral and societal wrongs. X.With the implementation of ONE FLORIDA, we will see more diversification and opportunities than ever before. Political Issues.