The remarks came during a debate on an amendment to the state's constitution that would eliminate Affirmative Action in the state government. It was proposed by State Rep. Leslie Osborn (R), who said: "This proposed constitutional amendment makes clear that all men are created equal and should be treated as such by their government. If voters approve this constitutional amendment, state government will not be allowed to discriminate against Oklahoma citizens based on race or gender - period."
Kern voted for the amendment, arguing that minorities earn less because they don't work as hard. "We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that's tragic," Kern said, "but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don't want to study as hard in school?
"I've taught school," she added, "and I saw a lot of people of color who didn't study hard because they said the government would take care of them."
Kern also noted, as the Tulsa World reports, that women don't earn as much money as men because "they tend to spend more time at home with their families."
The proposed amendment passed by a vote of 59-14 Wednesday, after having passed the state Senate. It will get on the ballot in November of 2012.
Kern has a long history of bringing controversy to the Oklahoma House. She has introduced a bill to ban Sharia law in the state, and another that would allow teachers to question evolution. Kern also claimed that "gays are infiltrating city councils" and gay people are "the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam, which I think is a big threat."
Kern did not immediately return TPM's request for comment.