California is a long way from the Confederacy, but the Assembly took an extra step on Monday to ensure the Civil War's losers can't be honored by government entities.
Under a bill that easily passed the Assembly on a 72-1 vote Monday, state government agencies would be prohibited from displaying or selling Confederate flag imagery. There would be an exception for books that offer "an educational or historical purpose."
Compared to South Carolina, where the decision to fly the stars and bars over the statehouse attracted enormous controversy, the Dixie symbol is relatively rare in California.
Still, Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Los Angeles, unfurled his Assembly Bill 2444 after he said he came across Confederate currency in the State Capitol's basement gift shop. He said the Confederate flag remains a potent symbol of fear and discrimination.
"The state of California should not be in the business of promoting hate towards others," Hall said on Monday, adding that it "would not allow taxpayer resources to be used to market hate towards others."
While agreeing that the flag represents a violent chapter in American history, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, countered that Hall's bill infringes on freedom of speech.
"I am not standing here defending the symbol," said Donnelly, who cast the sole dissenting vote. "I am standing here defending the principle that the First Amendment should apply in all state buildings, of all places."
PHOTO: Marchers making their way along Old State Road are met by Confederate flag supporters Monday, April 3, 2000, near Moncks Corner, S.C. Associated Press/Mary Ann Chastain.