Senator Jim Summerville (R- Dickson)
By LUCAS L. JOHNSON II / Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A proposal to eliminate affirmative action initiatives from higher education institutions has stalled in the Senate.
The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Jim Summerville of Dickson was deferred in the Senate Education Committee after committee members and higher education officials who spoke before the panel expressed concern with the bill's language.
As written, the legislation would prohibit colleges and universities from granting preference "based on race, gender or ethnicity ... to any student or employee of the public institution of higher education or any person with whom the public institution of higher education contracts."
The committee deferred the bill for a week in order for the measure's sponsor and the state's legal staff to clarify the term "preference."
One concern is that the current legislation could run afoul of federal law and possibly cost the state funding.