SACRAMENTO — A national debate over the Washington Redskins’ name spilled into the California Legislature on Monday, leading to a testy exchange between two lawmakers.
A resolution urging a name change was among dozens of items considered as the legislative session enters its final two-week stretch. ACR168 by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, says the Redskins name is disparaging to Native Americans and urges the National Football League to support a name and mascot change.
“We live in a society where a history of racial prejudice requires us to especially be sensitive to the use of words and phrases derived from generations of hate, bigotry and violence,” he said.
The resolution passed 49-5 and heads to the Senate over the objections of Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, who says the state Legislature doesn’t need to weigh in on such issues.
“They don’t need the help of us here in California,” the former Republican gubernatorial candidate said. “We have serious major crises that are going on in the world.”
Alejo often objects to Donnelly, who once patrolled the border as a volunteer Minuteman, bringing up immigration during unrelated bill debates. Alejo told him Monday that he “is in no position to talk about wasting the Legislature’s time.”
Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has stood by his team’s name, even after the U.S. Patent Trademark Trial and Appeal Board cancelled its trademark in June.
Also on Monday, the Assembly and Senate took action on the following bills:
- AB1566 by Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, which addresses the crime of stealing kitchen grease by increasing penalties and boosting requirements for licensed haulers. The bill responds to complaints from restaurant owners that they have been targeted by thieves looking to swipe used cooking oil from deep fryers. It can sell for hundreds of dollars to convert to biofuels. The Assembly voted to send the bill to the governor on a 70-0 vote.
- AB2104 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, which prohibits homeowner associations from banning drought-resistant landscaping. The bill applies regardless of whether a drought is declared, following an executive order and legislation blocking associations from slapping fines on residents with brown lawns during drought emergencies. The Assembly voted to send the bill to the governor on a 64-5 vote.
- AB2344 by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, which would update state law in an attempt to avoid court fights over parenthood. It allows parents to state in advance their intention to conceive a child by using a surrogate, using eggs from one parent when the other will give birth, or using sperm from one parent to conceive the child. It follows the recent heavily publicized dispute involving Jason Patric, star of “The Lost Boys,” and his custody fight over a son he fathered through sperm donation. The Senate approved the measure 28-3, with no spoken opposition, sending the bill back to the Assembly for concurrence on Senate amendments.
- AB2444 by Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Compton, which makes it illegal for state government agencies to sell or display the Confederate flag on its property, with exemptions for museums, libraries and in written and online media. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said the exceptions are needed so that future generations can learn about a symbol that he equated to the Nazi swastika. Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, who carried the bill in the Senate, called the flag “the quintessential symbol of racism.” The measure was sent back to the Assembly to concur with the new exceptions on a 33-2 vote, without spoken opposition.
- AB1835 by Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto, which allows adults to ride recreational off-highway vehicles without helmets on private land, but Senate amendments restored the requirement for drivers on public lands. The vehicles have steering wheels and non-straddle seating with a maximum speed of 30 miles per hour and appear closer to normal vehicles than all-terrain vehicles. They have a cabin with protective rails and room for multiple passengers. The Assembly voted to send the bill to the governor on a 47-13 vote.
- AB1819 by Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Compton, which prohibits smoking at home day care centers during all hours. While smoking is already prohibited while children are present, Hall says his bill responds to concerns about “third-hand” smoke, which lingers in furniture and carpets and poses a danger to children. The Assembly voted to send the bill to the governor on a 57-5 vote.