Assemblymember Rob Bonta

Being a member of the Communist Party can get you terminated from a state job, according to existing California law.

A bill authored by East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta remove from state law a provision allowing a public employee’s membership in the Communist Party to be grounds for termination.

The Assembly bill was narrowly approved on Monday and moves to the state Senate for later debate.

The state law was passed in 1953 during the height of the Red Scare and described “a clear and present danger” existed with the threat of the Communist Party “and their members will infiltrate and seek employment by the State and its public agencies.”

Bonta told the Los Angeles Times, Assembly Bill 22 was written as a “technical fix to remove that reference to a label that could be misused or abused, and frankly, has been in the past, in some of the darker chapters of our history in this country.”

Republicans and some Democrats had problems with the bill, saying it is was disrespectful to Vietnam War veterans who risked their lives to fight communism, according to the Los Angeles Times.