Bill to ban hiring preferences dead this session

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A proposal seeking to ban basing government hiring preferences on race, gender or ethnicity is dead this session.

Members of a special committee formed to work out differences in the House and Senate versions of the proposal failed to do so on Thursday.

The House version said preference wouldn't be based "solely" on a candidate's race, sex or ethnicity. State higher education officials said they were more comfortable with that language.

University of Tennessee lobbyist Anthony Haynes said it would provide clarification and possibly prevent a "litigious situation" from occurring.

However, Senate sponsor Jim Summerville opposed the language. The Dickson Republican says he plans to bring the bill back next year.

Earlier this session, a proposal from Summerville to eliminate affirmative action initiatives from higher education institutions also failed.

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