EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

Bill to replace DEI offices in Utah government, schools passes out of Senate

Jan 19, 2024, 1:02 PM | Updated: Jan 25, 2024, 12:37 pm

Sean Oliver speaks with Rep. Katy Hall, R-South Ogden, after her anti-DEI bill passed out of a comm...

Sean Oliver speaks with Rep. Katy Hall, R-South Ogden, after her anti-DEI bill passed out of a committee meeting at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024. The bill, HB 261, titled “Equal Opportunity Initiatives” aims to outlaw DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) trainings, requirements, programs and offices at public universities, schools “or any other institution of the state” that engages in what the legislation calls “prohibited discriminatory practices. (Laura Seitx/KSL NewsRadio)

(Laura Seitx/KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would prohibit diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, programs from government institutions like universities passed from the Utah senate to the house with amendments on Thursday. 23 legislators voted to pass the bill. 

Last week, the Utah House voted to pass HB261.  

The energy on the House floor was emotional at times as lawmakers debated the legislation, HB 261. 

Related: On the first day of the Utah legislative session, talk of changes to mail-in ballots

Rep. Katy Hall, R-Davis/Weber, fielded questions and comments from all sides about her bill.

Rep. Mark Wheatley, D-Salt Lake, opposed the bill, saying it’s too early to get rid of Utah’s DEI programs while there is no data on whether they work at promoting equal representation of all walks of life in the workforce and academia. 

“Just because we don’t experience racism doesn’t mean they don’t,” said Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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Bill to replace DEI offices in Utah government, schools passes out of Senate