California may end a decades-old ban on members of the Communist Party working in its government, after the state Assembly approved a bill that would delete references to the party from its employment requirements.
The bill's sponsor, Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, said that California's laws should focus on individuals' actions and evidence rather than political affiliations and what he termed "empty labels."
Speaking on the floor of the Assembly, Bonta called the legislation a "cleanup bill that removes archaic and outdated references to the Communist Party in our state laws, specifically those stating that a public employee may be dismissed from employment if he or she advocates or is knowingly a member of the Communist Party."
The bill passed in a 41-30 vote, after a debate that touched on the Cold War, the U.S. history of fighting communism -- and the potential for future conflicts.
While Bonta called the measure "an appropriate step forward" for the state, three of his Republican colleagues in the California Assembly rose to speak against the bill, AB 22.