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A second Kentucky bill takes aim at diversity programs — this time in K-12 schools

A new bill filed in the Kentucky General Assembly is targeting DEI, or Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, programs.

Senate Bill 93 – the text of which was posted to social media by a Democratic representative ahead of its official listing online – would ban all local K-12 school districts from spending any money or resources on DEI programs or trainings. The language also outlaws any promotion or engagement in any "political or social activism."

SB 93 follows another bill aimed at reining in DEI. The first would bar colleges and universities from mandating that students or employees agree to 16 concepts defined as “divisive.” The sponsor of that bill, Sen. Mike Wilson, said he believes DEI programs undermine a sense of unity.

"I think it's done more to divide us than unite us," the Bowling Green lawmaker said. "Certainly I respect diversity and inclusion... and as far as that is concerned, I think that we've done a really good job with all of our laws, federal and state, to combat racism and those kinds of events."

The status of the diversity programs, which have been widely adopted at academic institutions and corporations, is shaping up to be a political hot button this session – with opponents in the Kentucky legislature following the lead of states like Tennessee in seeking to limit their reach.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.