California has banned affirmative action since 1996, when 55% of voters approved a constitutional amendment that made it illegal to give preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.
Wednesday, the state Senate voted 30-10 to repeal that amendment, although voters must approve in November before it can become law.
Seven other states eventually followed California’s lead on banning affirmative action policies: Washington, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Arizona, New Hampshire and Oklahoma.
“The answer to discrimination is not more discrimination,” said state Sen. Ling Ling Chang, a Republican who is of Taiwanese descent.
Some Asian American groups are already preparing a campaign against lifting the ban on affirmative action.