POLITICS
08/21/2014 07:52 pm ET

Confederate Flag Doesn't Fly With California Lawmakers

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California lawmakers hauled down the Confederate flag this week -- figuratively speaking -- as both houses of the state legislature gave final approval to a bill banning the state government from displaying or selling items featuring the Civil War emblem.

The bill, AB 2444, passed the last legislative hurdle on Thursday when the California State Assembly voted yes 66-1, with only former gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks) voting no, the Los Angeles Times reported. The measure would still permit the flag's use in school textbooks, public museums and other educational settings.

"No Californian should be exposed to the type of hate or threat of violence caused by the image of the Confederate flag," the bill's author, Assemblyman Isadore Hall III (D-Compton), said in a press release.

When the assembly first voted on the bill in May, Donnelly had argued that the measure would violate the right to free speech.

"I abhor racism," Donnelly wrote on his Facebook page, "but this bill is antithetical to the first amendment, which was designed to protect controversial forms of speech."

But Hall explained on Monday, "AB 2444 respects Constitutional protections by restricting government speech, not individual speech, and will send a strong message that California and its taxpayers will not be in the business of promoting racism, exclusion, oppression or violence towards others."

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) must still sign the legislation. Last month, Brown had all Confederate flag materials swiftly removed from the California State Fair after Hall brought their increased presence to his attention.

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