A Bay Area assemblyman reversed course and eliminated bill language blacklisting Christians, Jews, and Muslims from being police officers.
Assemblyman Ash Kalra’s stated goal of AB 655 was to eliminate police officers belonging to “hate groups” or those who have used hate speech in the past.
But the bill’s definition of “hate group” was so broad it included police officers expressing religious or political views on abortion, marriage, and gender, or even those who belonged to a conservative church, synagogue, mosque or political party.
“We thank Assemblyman Kalra for listening to our concerns and revising AB 655 to respect the constitutional rights of peace officers,” Jonathan Keller, president of the California Family Council said Friday.
Kalra initially doubled-down on the problematic language in an interview with KCRA NBC News, even smearing those who disagreed.
“You have a constitutional right to have racist and bigoted views,” Karla said. “You don’t have a constitutional right to be a police officer.”
But after push back from the California Family Council and Pacific Justice Institute, the bill gained national attention.
Over the last week the California Peace Officers’ Association, the Sacramento Bee, and other national organizations also expressed concerns.
In response, Kalra finally acknowledged controversy and amended the bill Thursday.
“We have put in amendments to remove the specificity regarding denial of constitutional rights. Because, you do have the First Amendment right to be part of groups that may differ in opinion,” Kalra told KPIX CBS News.
See previous CalCatholic story, No Christian Cops in California