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4/12/2007 2:21:44 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
California: AB 755 Joint Legislative Alert - April 12, 2007

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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JOINT LEGISLATIVE ACTION ALERT - April 12, 2007
From: Roy Hanson's Child and Family Protection Association and HSLDA

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Bill: AB 755 (as introduced 2/22/07) - Prohibition of Spanking
Author: State Assembly Member Sally Lieber

Position: Strongly OPPOSE - amendments cannot help

Status: Scheduled to be heard in California State Assembly Public
Safety Committee Tuesday, April 17, 2007.

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Information Included In This E-mail:

A. Summary of Concerns
B. Action Items
C. Opposition Points to Share with Legislators

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A. Summary of Concerns:

Assembly Member Sally Lieber's first proposal to address all spanking
of children ages three and under was never introduced as a bill,
apparently due to much opposition. However, contrary to claims
originating from her office, (1) she has not "fixed" her no-spank
proposal; she has only adopted a different strategy; (2) AB 755 is an
anti-spanking bill "in disguise" and would have the effect of
abolishing most spanking without using language directly outlawing
spanking; (3) Lieber believes that all "good parents" never spank
their children; that only "bad parents" do, and therefore "good
parents" do not need to be worried about her bill; and (4) when Lieber
claims that her bill only deals with child abuse, remember that she
believes that all spanking, by definition, is child abuse. Her
strategy in AB 755 is to treat all spanking with an object as criminal
child abuse. She has deliberately failed to make any distinction
between spanking as a method of discipline and true child abuse.

AB 755 would amend Penal Code 273a, which currently makes it a crime
to cause unjustifiable pain, harm, or injury to any minor child. AB
755 would create a new "rebuttable presumption" that physical pain or
mental suffering inflicted upon a child is unjustifiable if it is
caused by any of the seven kinds of actions, which are listed in AB
755. The first of the seven actions listed is: "the use of an
implementation, including, but not limited to, a stick, a rod, a
switch, an electrical cord, an extension cord, a belt, a broom, or a
shoe." This first action includes the act of spanking with an
implement (i.e. an object other than using one's hand). The
significance of the new "rebuttable presumption" in AB 755 is that
regardless of any circumstances, the police and District Attorney
would have to consider all spanking with an implement to be
unjustifiable. Parents would have the difficult task of proving
(rebutting the charges) that the spanking was justifiable to the
satisfaction of the court in a criminal trial in order to avoid being
sent to jail for up to one year or receiving other penalties. The
case also could be referred to Child Protective Services (CPS) and
Juvenile Court, which could result in the possible temporary or
permanent loss of custody of their children.

* Please see our "AB 755 Alert Supplement" for a more detailed
explanation of AB 755. This Alert and our Supplement can be
downloaded from http://www.childandfamilyprotection.org.

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B. Action Items:

1) CALL IMMEDIATELY (Preferably before 3:00 pm Monday, April 16th)
the member of the Assembly Public Safety Committee according to the
first letter of your Last Name as indicated in the alphabetized list
below.

2) CALL your Assembly Member.
(You can find your Assembly Member's Capitol phone and fax numbers,
and address by entering your 9-digit ZIP code in HSLDA's Legislative
Tool Box at http://capwiz.com/hslda, or by calling the office in your
county that handles voter registration.)

3) CALL the Speaker of the Assembly, Fabian Nunez (916-319-2046; Fax
916-319-2146).

Ask them to -
"Please vote No on AB 755 (by Lieber). AB 755 has not been fixed. It
would cause parents who use a small paddle or similar object, when
lovingly spanking their child, to be arrested and prosecuted in a
criminal trial because of the rebuttable presumption that this bill
would add to the Penal Code. AB 755 is unnecessary. Children are
already protected from all forms of true child abuse in current law."

(If time permits when you call, you may want to be ready to use one of
the "Opposition Points to Share with Legislators" presented below in
addition to the suggested "script" above.)

4) Consider following up your calls with a brief letter or fax.
(Please refer below to the "Opposition Points to Share with
Legislators" for additional ideas in writing your letter or fax.)


Notes:
* Call as a concerned citizen. This bill affects all families.
* Do not disclose the source of this Alert. All bills are available
on the internet.
* Because e-mails are usually ignored, letters and calls are
significantly more effective.
* Reprint or forward this to your friends, church, school, and group.
* Pray for a proper outcome.

For Action Item #1 above, please call the member of the Assembly
Public Safety Committee according to the first letter of your last
name as indicated in the following list:

A - C
Assembly Member Jose Solorio (Chair)
Phone: 916-319-2069
Fax: 916-319-2169

D-F
Assembly Member Greg Aghazarian (Vice Chair)
Phone: 916-319-2026
Fax: 916 -319-2126

G-H
Assembly Member Joel Anderson
Phone: 916-319-2077
Fax: 916-319-2177

I-M
Assembly Member Hector De La Torre
Phone: 916-319-2050
Fax: 916-319-2150

N-Q
Assembly Member Mark Leno
Phone: 916-319-2013
Fax: 916-319-2113

R-S
Assembly Member Fiona Ma
Phone: 916-319-2012
Fax: 916-319-2112

T-Z
Assembly Member Anthony Portantino
Phone: 916-319-2044
Fax: 916-319-2144

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C. Opposition Points to Share with Legislators:

When writing a letter or fax, first use the language from our
suggested script in the above Action Item section and then pick and
choose any wording from the 5 points below to also include. If time
permits, consider using some of your own wording.

1. AB 755 would hurt the very children that this bill is supposed to
help, especially if their parents have lower incomes or they have only
one parent. When you hurt the child's primary caregiver, you hurt the
child. There will be a great amount of stress, grief, and hardship
resulting from an arrest, trial, expenses for a good defense, time
lost at work, threat of job loss, difficulty of getting a new job
because of having a criminal record, separating the child from
parents, fines, jail time, class time. The trauma and stigma of a
child's parent(s) going through a criminal trial will just add to
their troubles. This whole experience could be an unbearable stress.

2. There is no objective research that links bad outcomes for
children who have been spanked by their parents.(1) The best credible
research has shown that nonabusive spanking when used to back up other
disciplinary methods has been effective in curbing antisocial behavior
in children as they grow up.(2) Diana Baumrind, Ph.D., of the
University of California found that children who are occasionally
spanked score higher on measures of adjustment than children who have
never been spanked.(3) According to Robert E. Larzelere, Ph.D., of
Oklahoma State University, ten years after Sweden's ban on spanking
was instituted, child abuse had increased instead of decreasing.(4)

3. AB 755 defies all common sense and history. There is no state
that forbids the use of an object for spanking by parents. This form
of discipline, when reasonably administered, has been accepted by
every generation of Californians and Americans. Criminalizing a
significant portion of the populace by imposing the author's personal
beliefs about discipline and spanking on the parents of California is
a terrible and grave injustice. According to a national ABC News
Opinion Poll, over one half of the persons interviewed believe that a
reasonable spanking to the buttocks is appropriate as a method of
child discipline and close to one half of parents with minor children
at home spank their children.(5) A poll taken for CBS News on Jan.
18, 2007, found that 57% of California Bay Area adults would oppose
legislation banning spanking.

4. AB 755 inappropriately takes the burden off the state to prove
that the spanking administered was unjustifiable and puts the burden
on the parents to prove that the spanking was justifiable and
therefore did not constitute a crime. Tragically this runs counter to
California's history of jealously guarding their citizens' civil
rights, which include the Constitutional guarantees of presumption of
innocence and that proof beyond a reasonable doubt must be borne by
the state. Under AB 755, you would be presumed guilty until you
proved yourself innocent in a criminal court trial.

5. If AB 755 becomes law, there will be a huge increase in the number
of reports of child abuse and endangerment to law enforcement, child
protective services, and then an increase in cases to be handled by
D.A. offices, Criminal Courts, and Juvenile Courts. The flood of new
cases resulting from AB 755 will be overwhelming for these agencies of
the state, most of which are already overloaded with a backlog of
serious crime and child abuse cases.


* Please see our "AB 755 Alert Supplement" for a more detailed
explanation and additional opposition points. This Alert and our
Supplement can be downloaded from
http://www.childandfamilyprotection.org.


Footnotes:
1. Larzelere, Robert E. and Kuhn, Brett R.; Comparing Child Outcomes
of Physical Punishment and Alternative Disciplinary Tactics: A
Meta-Analysis; Clinical Child and Family Review, Vol. 8, No. 1, March
2005; p. 2.

2. Larzelere, Robert E. and Kuhn, Brett R.; Comparing Child Outcomes
of Physical Punishment and Alternative Disciplinary Tactics: A
Meta-Analysis; Clinical Child and Family Review, Vol. 8, No. 1, March
2005; p. 26.

3. Baumrind, Diana; Respondent's Affidavit Brief; Canadian Foundation
For Children, Youth and the Law vs. The Attorney General In Right of
Canada; Superior Court of Justice, Ontario Court; May 3, 1999, para.
85, 87.

4. Larzelere, Robert E.; Sweden's smacking ban: more harm than good;
Family First and The Christian Institute; England; 2004; p. 4.

5. ABCNEWS.com: Poll: Most Approve of Spanking Kids; March 26, 2007.


***** ***** ***** *****

Roy Hanson's HELP Tree
Child and Family Protection Association
P.O. Box 730
Lincoln, CA 95648-0730
Fax: (916) 415-9470

HELP Tree Director
P.O. Box 100
Somerset, CA 95684-0100
Fax: (530) 622-4717
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The purpose of this communication is to present information and
express our position on the issue(s) addressed. We encourage you to
research this for yourself and come to your own conclusions.
Regardless of your position, we strongly urge you to exercise your
constitutional right to express your position to your elected
representatives. We have included an example of how we have expressed
our position.
***** ***** ***** *****
DISCLAIMER: This is considered a private and confidential message to
HELP Tree Members only. We are not responsible for the accuracy of
copies printed, forwarded, or sent by any party other than directly
from Child and Family Protection Association.
***** ***** ***** *****

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