From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


1/22/2008 12:16:57 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
California--AB 755--Prohibition of Spanking

From the HSLDA E-lert Service...

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From: Roy Hanson's Child and Family Protection Association and HSLDA

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Bill: AB 755 - Prohibition of Spanking (as amended April 24, 2007)
Author: State Assembly Member Sally Lieber

Position: Strongly OPPOSE

Status: Deadline for passage in Assembly Appropriations Committee is
January 25th or the bill dies in Committee.

Summary of Concern:
AB 755 would, in its practical effect, make a non-injurious spanking
with an object such as a ruler, small paddle, etc. illegal. After
being arrested, charged, and tried in a criminal court, parents could
receive up to one year in jail and lose custody of their children.

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Information Included In This E-mail:
A. Action Items
B. Background
C. Opposition Points to Share with Legislators

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A. Action Items:
We need to send a strong message!
Call your State Assemblymember and State Senator as soon as possible.
(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, or by calling the office in
your county that handles voter registration. The Governor's office is
(916) 445-2841 or fax him at (916) 445-4633.)

Ask them to -
"Please oppose AB 755 (by Lieber) by letting it die in the Assembly
Appropriations Committee. AB 755 would cause parents who use a small
paddle, ruler, or similar object, when lovingly spanking their child,
to be arrested and prosecuted in a criminal trial. AB 755 is
unnecessary. Children are already protected from all forms of true
child abuse in current law."

* 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.

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B. Background:

Assembly Member Sally Lieber's first proposal to address all spanking
of children ages three and under was never introduced as a bill, due
to much opposition. This current April amended version of AB 755
retains the dangerous wording of the seven actions items as contained
in the introduced version of the bill. This current version of AB 755
removed the "rebuttable presumption", but replaces it with mandated
instructions to be given to the jury in a criminal trial of parents
accused of spanking. Contrary to continued claims originating from
her office, (1) she has not "fixed" her no-spank proposal; she has
only adopted now a third 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) Lieber
believes that all spanking, by definition, is 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. The
instructions to a jury which are mandated by the current version of AB
755 would state that a jury may consider 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 also 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 was written to specifically include the act
of spanking with an object other than using one's hand. Because these
items would be listed in the Penal Code, the police and District
Attorney would likely consider all spanking with an implement to be
grounds to bring charges against the parents. Then a criminal court
trial would determine if the parents are guilty of criminal child
abuse. Parents would have the difficult, expensive and draining task
of proving 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.

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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 non-abusive 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. The 2000 National Census reported that there are 4,117,036
families in Californian with children under 18 years of age living at
home. An ABC News poll taken November 8, 2006, reported that 50% of
parents with children at home spank their children. These two figures
taken together, means that as many as 1 to 2 million families in
California spank their children as a form of discipline in a manner
that would cause them to fall within the scope of paragraph (1) of AB
755. The overwhelming majority of these parents, under current law,
are not considered abusive. However, under paragraph (1) of
subdivision (d), many of these millions of currently innocent parents
will be thrust on the already overwhelmed CPS and criminal court

5. If AB 755 becomes law, there will be a huge increase in the number
of reports of child abuse and endangerment to be investigated by law
enforcement and 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

* Please see our updated "AB 755 Alert Supplement" for a more detailed
explanation and additional opposition points. This Alert and our
Supplement can be downloaded from

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

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

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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.
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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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