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Bush Delays Affirmative Action Ban

January 21, 2000

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ A 25-hour sit-in at the lieutenant governor’s office by two black lawmakers persuaded Gov. Jeb Bush to delay his ban on affirmative action, but the protest probably won’t derail the plan altogether.

State Sen. Kendrick Meek and Rep. Tony Hill, both Democrats, ended their protest Wednesday when the Republican governor agreed to postpone by a month Friday’s scheduled meeting of the Board of Regents, the state university system’s governing board.

The panel was expected to formally approve the plan, which would eliminate race as a factor in university admissions.

``It would be unlikely to be any different at this point,″ said Keith Goldschmidt, Board of Regents spokesman.

Meek and Hill had demanded that Bush rescind his November executive order banning affirmative action in university admissions and contracting decisions.

The governor’s plan guarantees admission to some state universities to the top 20 percent of each Florida high school’s graduating class, adds $20 million to the state’s financial aid budget and makes it easier for minority businesses to be certified to work across the state.

Bush refused to take back the executive order, but he did agree to hold hearings and make a ``good-faith review″ of Meek and Hill’s recommendations on how to improve the plan.

``He’s already said the plan isn’t perfect, and we’re going to bring some recommendations,″ Hill said.

Without the sit-in, Meek said, ``The Board of Regents would have rammed this down the people’s throats.″

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