FRANKFORT, Ky. — Diversity, equity and inclusion programs on Kentucky’s college campuses will remain intact, as a bill moving through the legislature to ban them failed to pass Thursday night, March 28, ahead of the veto period.

What You Need To Know

  • Senate Bill 6 did not pass through the legislature before the veto period

  • The bill seeks to eliminate diversity, equity and inclusion programs on college campuses

  • Bills passed before the veto period can have a gubernatorial veto overridden

  • SB 6 and other DEI bills filed this year will now not likely become law

Despite early support among GOP lawmakers, Senate Bill 6 will be one of several anti-DEI bills to not make it past the finish line.

After passing through both chambers earlier in the session, the House added more restrictive language to SB 6 from a similar bill. The Senate’s next move would have been to agree with the changes, but this didn’t happen.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, told reporters Thursday night the bill was “contentious within our caucus.”

Lawmakers can override the governor’s veto of bills passed before the end of day 58, but cannot do so on ones passed on the last two days of the session next month. That means SB 6 is essentially dead.

“Really want to say thank you to the experts that came in, we took the time to network, to talk and explain and I think ultimately the votes weren’t there. They chose not to call it. (I’m) relieved so we can focus on bills that move Kentucky forward,” State Sen. David Yates, D-Louisville, said.  

Yates believes after learning more about what DEI does, lawmakers across the aisle reconsidered their position.

“I think that when it first came out, there was a lot of misinformation and just ignorance as it related (to SB 6), and I think as people became educated and they saw some of the ills to it and the negative effects, things that it negatively affected in other states, I think that my colleagues, many of them realized that it’s not what we needed in Kentucky,” Yates explained.

Angela Cooper with the ACLU of Kentucky celebrated SB 6’s lack of passage Friday.

“Trying to eliminate DEI just seems really foolish,” Cooper said. “Obviously, diversity is going to make us stronger. Hearing from multiple viewpoints is going to make us stronger, and we want to encourage that, particularly in our institutes of higher education.”

Cooper says SB 6 was backed by outside groups pushing similar DEI bills across the country.

“Kentucky is unique, everybody knows that it’s a special place, it deserves to be protected, it deserves to be fought for and we don’t need legislation that’s copy pasted from another state that doesn’t have our unique circumstances,” Cooper said.

A similar bill seeking to eliminate DEI initiatives in K-12 schools also did not move forward this year.