Kirpan bill to be re-introduced in California after vetoOctober 14th, 2009 - 9:33 am ICT by IANS
By Gurmukh Singh
Los Angeles, Oct 14 (IANS) After California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a unanimously passed bill over the carrying of kirpan by Sikhs, the bill will be reintroduced in the state assembly.
The bill - AB 504 - was introduced in February by assembly member Warren Furutani to educate law enforcement agencies to stop the arrests of Sikhs for carrying their kirpans in California. It was passed unanimously by the assembly, but Schwarzenegger vetoed it last week, saying it is “unnecessary.”
But assembly member Furutani said he will re-introduce the bill at the earliest.
“I am committed to carrying this legislation again until this or any other governor signs it. I urge the Sikh community to stand with me as we continue this fight,” Furutani said.
The bill, which was drafted with input from the Police Officers’ Standard and Training Commission (POST) of California, would have been the first such law in the US if it had been okayed by the governor.
Vetoing the bill with a rider, Schwarzenegger said: “It is the policy and practice of the Commission to periodically
review and update existing course curricula. If the Commission determines that training on the kirpan is warranted, it can create a programme without this measure.”
In a statement, Sikh Coalition, which spearheaded the campaign for the bill, said it is shocked by the veto despite the unanimous support for the bill.
“The governor’s response is very disappointing. It shows his lack of support for promoting religious understanding,” Coalition leader Neha Singh said.
“It is an utter shame that he does not understand the value of educating our law enforcement agencies on the diverse communities they are policing,” he said.
The Sikh organization urged the community to write to the governor to convey their dismay to him.
(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at email@example.com)
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