AGs warn Department of Labor about race-based apprenticeships

(The Center Square) – A group of 24 state attorneys general have written a letter to the Department of Labor saying its proposed rule promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in the National Apprenticeship program exceeds the department’s authority.

The public comment letter said the rule promotes racial discrimination in the program, which allows the department to send tax money to state sponsors, employees and other entities to enable apprenticeship programs across the country.

“Americans fought for generations to ensure that people would not be treated differently because of the color of their skin, and the proposed DOL apprenticeship rule flies in the face of those hard-earned laws,” Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said in a statement. “We should not let race-obsessed ideology interfere with an important and successful apprenticeship program. No American should be deprived of an opportunity because of their race.”

Tennessee was the lead author in the letter that was signed by attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Skrmetti outlined four ways that the program violated the law including its oversight and data collection requirement, which the attorneys general say exceeds the scope of the DOLs spending clause authority.

They claim the rules race-based requirements violate the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause along with Title VII and civil rights laws. The attorneys general cited a Supreme Court ruling where the court said that “what cannot be done directly” under governing law “cannot be done indirectly” by federal agencies.

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