Assemblymember Rob Bonta says AB 22
was intended to clean-up language in state
law long deemed unconstitutional.

A bill that would have stricken a Cold War-era reference in state law that allows for the firing of a state employee for their membership in the Communist Party was pulled from consideration Wednesday by its author, East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta.

The legislation was narrowly approved by the Assembly last week, but not without opposition from veterans groups and Vietnamese-Americans, who believed removal of language betrayed their sacrifices in fighting communism.

Bonta said he consulted with fellow Assemblymembers Ash Kalra and Kansen Chu, who represent South Bay districts with large Vietnamese-American immigrant communities. Many told Bonta news of the bill rekindle painful memories of the war.

“Many expressed these concerns to me,” said Bonta, in a statement. “Through my conversations with veterans and members of the Vietnamese-American community, I heard compelling stories of how AB 22 caused real distress and hurt for proud and honorable people. For that, I am sorry.

“I appreciate the candor and heartfelt expressions of concern. As a member of the State Assembly and throughout my career as a public servant, I know that listening is just as important as speaking. I have worked to bring communities together and promote the values of justice, inclusion, equity and opportunity.”

Th main intent of AB 22, said Bonta, was merely as a “clean-up bill” to remove language long determined unconstitutional.