I feel so much better now..
Communist party membership no longer a fireable offence in California | World news | guardian.co.uk
Communist party membership no longer a fireable offence in California
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.
The bill, he said, would "still allow employees to be fired for any activity to overthrow the state or federal government".
The legislation, which will now be considered by the assembly, was approved on a 24-15 vote, with Democrats in support and Republicans opposed.
Republican senator Jeff Denham warned: "the Communist party is not a dead organisation ... and [is] actively repressing human beings in Cuba and China in brutal ways.
"The state has every right to hold school employees accountable for their political standing, especially if that employee belongs to an organisation that favours the violent overthrow of the government," Denham said during the debate on the bill.
Denham said that it's also "reasonable that use of public school property should be limited to groups who support our democracy and do not advocate the overthrow of government by force, violence or other possible means."
But Lowenthal argued, "the communist party does not advocate the overthrow of the U.S. government.
"This is a very conservative bill," he said. "[It] says we must uphold the constitution."
The legislature cannot repeal California's loyalty oath, which was added to the state constitution by voters in 1952, but its current use was debated yesterday.
The oath requires public employees in California to swear to "defend" the US and California constitutions "against all enemies, foreign and domestic".
The law is sporadically enforced, but since the end of the Cold War some potential employees - including Quakers and Jehovah's Witnesses - have declined to sign the pledge over religious or political issues.
In a recent high-profile case, California State University, Fullerton, cancelled the appointment of an American Studies lecturer after she declined to sign the oath.