Lawmakers, Business Community Announce California Act for Economic Prosperity

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Repeal of Prop 209 will open up contracting and hiring for minorities and women

Supporters of ACA 5 hold signs at a press conferenceSacramento, CA -- Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber Ph.D. (D - San Diego), and a broad coalition of colleagues and business leaders today, announced ACA 5, The California Act for Economic Prosperity. This bill would repeal Proposition 209, California’s outdated law that has prevented full participation in California’s economic prosperity for over two decades. 

“Since becoming law in 1996, Proposition 209 has cost women- and minority-owned businesses $1.1 billion each year,” said Assemblymember Weber. “It has perpetuated a wage gap wherein women make 80 cents on every dollar made by men and has allowed discriminatory hiring and contracting processes to continue unhindered.” 

California is one of only eight states that does not allow race or gender to be considered in hiring, or allotting state contracts, or accepting students into the state’s public colleges and universities.

“In contracting, small business owners don’t get the same fair shot because of Prop 209,” Said Vincent Pan, representing Chinese for Affirmative Action. “In Chicago or Atlanta, Asian American-owned businesses win more public contracts than in San Francisco or Los Angeles where equal opportunity is banned because of this law.”

“I’m a product of Affirmative Action. Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” said Assemblymember Lorena Gonzales (D-San Diego). “I believe every qualified person from an underrepresented community in California should have the same opportunity I had.”

"California is home to the greatest number of women-owned businesses in the nation and having contract gender parity is important," said Assemblymember Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara). "ACA 5 allows California voters to decide whether gender parity should be mandated or whether we should continue with the status quo that has fallen short in achieving gender equity.” 

“Today we kicked off our campaign to give every Californian an opportunity succeed in higher education and hiring,” said Assemblymember Santiago (D-Los Angeles). “We’re going to fight back against right-wing ideologies from the past. California will once again lead the nation to provide opportunity for all.”

ACA 5 is supported by members of the Black, Latino, API and Women’s Caucuses, as well as leading business and civil rights organizations across California, including Equal Justice Society, the California Black Chamber of Commerce, Chinese for Affirmative Action and scores of faith-based organizations.