Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager (D-Baldwin Hills) is on a crusade: to ensure prisoners can refuse work. She hopes to do this by changing the language in the California Constitution.
“As it currently reads, the Constitution of California prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude ‘except to punish crime,’” she said. “The California Abolition Act would remove such conditional language, abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude without exception.”
In January, Kamlager introduced ACA 3 to the Assembly. The bill is co-sponsored by Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), who is also the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment.
From a press release:
“California’s incarcerated people have no practical ability to refuse to work. For example, Samual Nathaniel Brown, the original author of ACA 3 and a person incarcerated at California State Prison, Los Angeles County, has had to sanitize the cells of incarcerated people infected with COVID-19 with insufficient personal protective equipment (PPE). Refusing his assignment would expose him to being ‘written up’ by prison guards, which could jeopardize his chances of receiving early release.
“It’s unacceptable that California’s constitution still carries this language in the year 2021. In our great state of California— often touted as one of the most progressive states in the country— this cannot stand,” said Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager and the legislative author of ACA 3. “By removing this language from our constitution, we are moving our state into the 21st century and taking steps to ensure that no Californian is ever put in a position of involuntary servitude again. Dissolving these remnants of slavery and racial inequality is more important than ever before.”
Kalra, who was one of the main drivers behind pushing California AB5 into law through his Labor and Employment Committee, had this to say:
“I am proud to coauthor the California Abolition Act and take a stand against the inhumane treatment of incarcerated individuals. Involuntary servitude is a fundamentally and historically racist practice that has no place in any society, and it is due time that our state abandons this archaic concept once and for all.”
Kamlager was a “Yes” vote on the passage of AB5. Her top donors are the California Teacher’s Association, and the SEIU. So know that she cares more about people who are serving time for crimes that they chose to commit, than she does about hardworking independent contractors, freelancers, and the self-employed who do not willfully break laws, pay their taxes, and simply want the freedom to work as they choose. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if this need to redress discrimination and slavery in the California Constitution has less to do with justice and equity, and more to do with some Union initiative.
It’s always about who controls the strings, and Kamlager has plenty of strings.
While inmates have some rights, many are stripped from them once they are incarcerated. The goal of justice is to provide some form of penalty for the crime committed. These work programs for inmates have had problems, as in the Aramark mess in Alameda County. But that does not make their goal invalid.
Bill Young, Riverside Sheriffs’ Association President, said that prison programs are meant to allow inmates to build skills they can utilize upon release, thereby reducing recidivism. The programs are all voluntary, and even competitive.
“Offenders in community programs receive the benefit of freedom and provide something of value to the community,” he added.
But making a big splash to change the California Constitution to ensure prisoners get certain rights, while consistently stripping rights from the citizens of California is peak Legislature. According to HG.org, even if an inmate is part of a work release program or other employment-like initiative, the inmate is not subject to employment laws.
Isn’t that convenient.
These elected officials fail to see the disconnect. On the one hand, they are passing laws that restrict Californians freedom to earn a living, force them to pay money in order to be under the thumb of Union servitude, and if we refuse or break their employment laws, they lodge fines and extract usurious penalties on those who cannot or will not comply.
On the other hand, they are trying to give prisoners the right to refuse to do work at all, even if this work is a part of the sentence they are required to serve out for their crime, all in the name of justice.
Give me a frickin’ break.
The Clown Car of San Francisco Supervisors has thrown its support behind this act to end involuntary servitude. With Chesa Boudin as San Francisco County District Attorney, this comes as no surprise.
“The City’s Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee voted 3-0 Thursday on Supervisor Matt Haney’s proposed resolution to support Kamlager.
“The resolution formally states that the Board of Supervisors denounces structural racism and commits to maintaining an “equitable, healthy, and safe environment for all Californians.” Supervisors Gordan Mar and Catherine Stefani added themselves as cosponsors.”
Who is not on board? Our own COVID lockdown non-enforcement hero of law enforcement, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco.
“Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco plans to fight local efforts to change the California Constitution. He views Kamlager’s Assembly Constitutional Amendment 3 as a continuation of what he calls the Democratic agenda supporting criminals over victims of crime.
“ ‘There is not slavery,’ says Bianco, who runs his county’s jails. ‘Inmates are not slaves. They are convicted criminals serving a sentence for victimizing us. This ACA 3 is just another in a long list of items that shows us that this legislature is anti-public safety and pro-criminal.’ ”
As well as anti-citizen.
If passed by the California Legislature, ACA 3 will create a ballot measure in 2022 where Californian’s can vote to remove slavery from the Constitution. Dependent upon how the Recall efforts to remove Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon, and the Recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom goes, we will see what the constituent’s appetite will be. More social justice nonsense, or more of governance and laws that serve We The People.