Lawmakers Pass Bill Restricting State Funds Towards DEI Programs

( – Kay Ivey, the governor of Alabama, signed a bill on Wednesday, March 20th that prohibits state funding from being used on programs to promoted diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at public colleges, schools, and state agencies.

The Alabama state House approved SB 129 on March 7th and it passed in the Alabama Senate on March 19th. Gov. Ivey signed it into law one day later, on March 20th. It will go into effect on October 1st of this year.

The Republican state Senator who introduced the bill, Will Barfoot, said the bill’s purpose is to “prevent compelled speech” as well as “indoctrination.” One of the bill’s co-sponsors, Representative Ed Oliver, also a Republican, described DEI initiatives as “race-exclusionary programs” meant to indoctrinate people, particularly students, into a “far-left political ideology.” He also added that these types of programs “deepen divisions” rather than create unity between people.

The bill does not outright ban DEI programs and events, which will still be allowed on college campuses, but only if they use funding not provided by the state. It does, however, prohibits any taxpayer-funded entity from requiring employees, students, and contractors to attend any DEI training or workshops. The legislation includes eight “divisive concepts,” including the concept that any person should “need to apologize” on the basis of their skin color, ethnicity, or religion.

The bill has been opposed by the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) of Alabama as well as the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). Local protestors rallied at the Alabama state capitol before the bill was officially passed, holding up signs that said things like “DEI saves lives,” though it is unclear how DEI programs save lives.

Alabama Democrats also oppose SB 129, and many in the Alabama state legislature have questioned the bill’s constitutionality. Before the bill passed, the Democratic mayor of Birmingham, Randall Woodfin, stated if it became a law, he would encourage black athletes from Alabama to attend universities outside of the state where “diversity and inclusion are prioritized.”

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