Redskins ban closer to reality

A California proposal called the California Racial Mascots Act moved closer to passage on Tuesday when the state’s Senate Education committee voted 7-1 for approval.

The legislation next goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee, but the momentum appears favorable that the ban of the Redskins nickname, mascot or athletic team name eventually will pass through state senate after already having passed the state assembly. Governor Jerry Brown would then decide to sign, veto or allow it to become a law without signing.

The ban would force four California high schools that currently use the name – Calaveras (San Andreas), Gustine, Chowchilla and Tulare – to change it by Jan. 1, 2017.

Two previous versions of the bill also passed both houses, but were vetoed by previous Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He said at the time, as have others who support still using the Redskins nickname, that decisions such as these should be made at the local level.

Many California high schools already have changed Indian-themed nicknames in recent years and the bill only relates to the Redskins nickname and not the Indians nickname or Comanches or similar.

“This is 2015, not 1815,” Assemblyman and bill author Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) told the media on Tuesday. “Native Americans are people, not mascots.”

Salesian of Richmond is one school that switched its mascot recently from Chieftains to Pride. All schools in the massive L.A. Unified School District have been prohibited from Indian nicknames, including schools such as Birmingham of Lake Balboa (Braves to Patriots) and Gardena (Mohicans to Panthers) that changed.

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