Anti-DEI Bills Advance in Kentucky, Nebraska

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Students are becoming increasingly concerned about state politics when considering which college they will attend

Kentucky and Nebraska lawmakers are advancing anti-DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) bills in their states, the latest in a national legislative trend targeting DEI offices and inclusive practices at colleges and universities.

On Tuesday, Kentucky Senate Republicans passed Senate Bill 6 after it was approved by the Senate Education Committee last week. It was passed along party lines, 26-7. The bill is now under consideration by the Kentucky House of Representatives. 

Senate Bill 6 would prevent institutions from requiring people to state specific ideologies when seeking employment, job advancement, or admission, as well as prohibit preferential treatment due to these specific beliefs. 

It would also ban the teaching of a number of “discriminatory concepts” laid out in the law, including the idea that one is responsible for past actions of people that are the same race or sex as oneself and that “the Commonwealth of Kentucky or the United States of America is fundamentally or irredeemably racist or sexist.”

Enforcement of the bill would be undertaken by the state attorney general’s office.

On Tuesday, a large number of Nebraska constituents also testified before the Education Committee on two proposed state bills, one that would ban DEI programs and offices at state higher education institutions, and another that would eliminate tenure. 

The Nebraska bill saw testimony from 12 people in support of the bill, however, a larger turnout came from those asking legislators to turn down the proposals.

“As a Latino woman in engineering, I have been overlooked by my peers countless times,” testified Mia Perales, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln engineering student, the Associated Press (AP) reports.

These bills largely mirror others proposed across the country in a movement that began in late 2022. So far this year, lawmakers have introduced about 50 bills against DEI efforts and practices in 20 states, according to an AP analysis