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Inslee updates decades-old affirmative action guidance

Executive order aims for more equity in hiring, education and contracting


The following is from the Office of the Governor:

OLYMPIA (Jan. 18, 2022) — Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday signed an executive order that rescinds Directive 98-01, a 23-year-old document that was supposed to provide agencies with instructions on how to implement Initiative 200 (I-200) on affirmative action. Instead, the directive was overly restrictive.

The governor announced earlier this month his intention to rescind the outdated directive. Monday’s replacement executive order will instruct agencies on how to move forward with achieving equity while still complying with I-200. The executive order provides agencies with new instructions, which marks our commitment to the work to identify, document, and eradicate discrimination and disparities in all forms, for the benefit of all Washingtonians.

“Today, as we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I am taking action to change how we achieve equity within the law in our state. Achieving equal opportunity has always been foundational to our country’s history and each of us bears the responsibility to stand up and keep this unalienable right for all Washingtonians. Everyone deserves a fair chance to live to the fullest – everyone,” Inslee said.

The rescission of Directive 98-01 does not alter other state and federal legal requirements related to affirmative action. Agencies are required to consult with the Office of the Attorney General on how to comply with this directive and applicable laws.

Former Gov. Gary Locke, who originally signed 98-01, applauded Inslee’s actions.

“I applaud Governor Inslee’s actions today. Our state has a deep commitment to providing equitable opportunities for all and now that the attorney general’s office has modified its opinion, it is absolutely appropriate to repeal 98-01 and replace it with something that better reflects our values,” Locke said.

The mayors of Tacoma and Seattle, as well as other community leaders, also praised the decision.

Read the rest of the story on the governor’s Medium page.

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