Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ Democrats in the Legislature are abandoning their attempt to repeal the voter-approved ban on affirmative action in the state’s higher education system.

Assembly Speaker John Perez said Monday that he does not have enough support within his own party to place the constitutional amendment before voters in November. He says lawmakers instead will form a task force to study the issue.

California voters passed Proposition 209 in 1996, banning the use of race and ethnicity in public university admissions, state hiring and contracting. The amendment, SCA5, was initiated to address the drop-off in black and Latino admissions, primarily in the UC system.

Asians, however, have been over-represented at many UC campuses since the ban on racial preferences took effect, and SCA5 drew a fierce backlash within that community.