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Map: See which states have introduced or passed anti-DEI bills

Republican lawmakers have introduced hundreds of bills this session to quell diversity and inclusion programs at colleges, industries and the government.

Republican lawmakers in more than 30 states have introduced or passed more than 100 bills to either restrict or regulate diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in the current legislative session, according to an NBC News analysis.

Following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020 and the national protests that followed, schools, companies and individuals sought more solutions to become more racially and socially inclusive. But those efforts have invited a backlash, with conservative media outlets, politicians, lawyers and social media influencers now countering DEI efforts in several industries, from higher education institutions to airlines

In the months since the Supreme Court restricted race-conscious college admissions, groups have filed complaints and lawsuits against minority-owned businesses with equity initiatives. 

States such as Florida, Texas and Utah are among the handful whose legislatures have approved bans on DEI efforts in higher education and public offices. In Florida, the Board of Education recently announced a new rule banning public colleges from using state and federal funds on DEI initiatives. Last summer, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law to require all state-funded colleges and universities to close their DEI offices. And a Utah bill now headed to Gov. Spencer Cox’s desk would ban all government and universities from having offices dedicated to promoting diversity. 

Other states have introduced or passed bills with similar restrictions or require agencies to publicly disclose their DEI initiatives. 

Advocates for the anti-DEI movement have called such policies and programs unconstitutional, holding that focusing on diversity and inclusion only divides Americans and fosters “white guilt.” These efforts are part of the larger conservative push against “wokeness.” The anti-DEI efforts follow, and have gained momentum from, the backlash to Black Lives Matter and the implementation of laws to limit what can be taught about race in schools. 

In February, Arizona state Sen. Anthony Kern likened DEI initiatives to support for Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ rights, as he  introduced a bill to prohibit the state and local governments as well as colleges and universities from spending money on DEI. Kern said there was “ample evidence” of professors intimidating students by using state money for things beyond education or advocacy.

“We don’t want public money going to political activism; promoting DEI,” Kern said.

In response to these targeted attacks on DEI, an unofficial coalition of civil rights, political and advocacy groups — including the National Urban League, the Black Economic Alliance and the Congressional Black Caucus — have banded together to counter the growing cries to dismantle DEI initiatives in businesses. 

“We don’t need to persuade most businesspeople on diversity,” Marc H. Morial, president of the National Urban League, previously told NBC News. “We just have to encourage them to be courageous and not be intimidated by politicians, mainly a bunch of politicians, billionaires and right-wing actors.”