A bill passed on Monday in by the state assembly in California proposes that being a member of the Communist Party would no longer be a fireable offense for government employees. The bill is now waiting to get voted on by the Senate.
Assemblyman Rob Bonta proposed the legislation, Assembly Bill 22, which would repeal part of a law that was established during the Red Scare in 1953 when the U.S. feared that communists were infiltrating the American public after World War II.
The dated law warns of “a clear and present danger, which the Legislature of the State of California finds is great and imminent, that in order to advance the program, policies and objectives of the world communism movement, communist organizations in the State of California and their members will engage in concerted effort to hamper, restrict, interfere with, impede, or nullify the efforts of the State…and their members will infiltrate and seek employment by the State and its public agencies.”
With Bonta’s proposed bill, it would still be a fireable offense to advocate a violent overthrow of the government.
“It’s an old and archaic reference,” Bonta said, as quoted by the LA Times.
Bonta added that his bill was “really just a technical fix to remove that reference to a label that could be misused or abused, and frankly, has been in the past, in some of the darker chapters of our history in this country.”
The Assemblyman acknowledged the history that accompanied the bill, but added that it was important to consider and add due process.
“Part of having a functioning democracy and a fair and equitable society is to make sure you’re actually basing your decisions to take someone’s job away … based on their actual conduct, their actual behavior and actual proof and evidence, not just some loose label that could be applied overbroadly in a way that is unfair and unjust,” Bonta added.