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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) — An effort to reinstate affirmative action to California colleges and government agencies moved one step closer to the November ballot Wednesday after clearing a key legislative hurdle.

California barred affirmative action in 1996 when voters approved Proposition 209, which forbid government preferential treatment for individuals on the basis of race, ethnicity or sex.

Some said affirmative action amounts to “reverse discrimination” while the Silicon Valley Chinese Association Foundation argued the practice is unconstitutional.

Look at the department chairs, what happened there?”Pan said the lack of minority representation is common across many industries and argued the affirmative action ballot measure would spark a badly needed conversation among voters.

Proponents contend reinstalling the affirmative action framework is legal by pointing to U.S. Supreme Court precedent confirming the use of race in college applications.

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