The California Senate yesterday passed legislation that would delete membership in the Communist party as a reason for firing a public employee, a Cold War-era prohibition intended to root out communists.
Democratic Senator Alan Lowenthal called communism a “failed system,” and said his bill – Senate Bill 1322 – was intended to protect “the constitutional freedoms that we have fought so valiantly for,” including freedom of political affiliation.
California is the only state that allows public employees to be dismissed for membership in a political party.
In addition, current law requires that any organisation that applies to use a public school facility can be asked to sign a statement that “the applicant is not a communist action organisation or a communist front”.
“SB 1322 seeks to protect the rights of free speech and political affiliation by repealing the no-longer necessary statute from the books,” Lowenthal said.
17 May 2008