Council 57 PAC Supports Bill Protecting Rights of Our Muslim Brothers and Sisters

The Council 57 Political Action Committee recently took a position to support statewide legislation that would protect our brothers and sisters from being targeted for their religious beliefs. The bill was proposed in the wake of repeated statements from the Trump Administration in regards to instituting a program to track Muslim people in the United States.

SB 31, the California Religious Freedom Act, was introduced by state Sen. Ricardo Lara, whom Council 57 endorsed in the November 2016 election. The legislation would prohibit a state or local agency from disclosing to federal authorities personal information regarding a person’s religious affiliation when the information is sought for compiling a database of individuals based on religious affiliation, national origin or ethnicity. SB 31 also prohibits state and local law enforcement from collecting information about an individual’s religious beliefs or affiliations, except under certain circumstances.

According to our PAC, supporting the legislation is necessary because California has a duty to protect the rights of all people. Trump has already threatened those rights by signing an executive order temporarily banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and AFSCME California PEOPLE, our Union’s statewide political arm, were some of the organizations that sent letters of support for the Religious Freedom Act.

“Proposals to create federal registries or databases of Americans based on their religious beliefs threaten the First Amendment rights of every Californian,” Brian Allison, political and legislative director for AFSCME California PEOPLE, said in his letter. “AFSCME members hold an incredibly diverse range of beliefs and the protection of their right to do so is the protection of the very democracy in which we live.”

As of this week, the bill is making progress. SB 31 passed out of committee on Tuesday and is moving forward in the state Senate.

Council 57’s Political Action Committee is made up of representatives appointed by each of our affiliated locals. The PAC meets before Executive Board meetings to discuss candidate endorsements, policy positions and requests for support from our affiliates. To find out more, contact your Local President or Council 57 staff.