Affirmative action initiative reaches Washington Legislature

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — An initiative that would bring back affirmative action in Washington has had a contentious hearing at the state Legislature, where advocates and critics alike questioned the role of opportunity and privilege in society.

The initiative would allow the state to use hiring and recruitment goals — but not quotas — to bring minority candidates into state jobs, education, and contracting.

Lawmakers Thursday presided over a lengthy hearing for the measure. Because the measure is an initiative to the Legislature, lawmakers have the option to approve or reject the measure. If they reject it outright it would automatically go on the fall ballot. They also could also suggest an alternative to go on the ballot beside it.