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Prepared by Leslie E. Claypool for Assemblyman Augustus F. Hawkins
Supported by 42 co-signers, Assemblyman Augustus F. Hawkins, D., Los Angeles, has just introduced a Fair Employment Practices Commission bill which he believes will pass soon after the constitutional recess.
The Hawkins bill follows nearly the same wording as the FEPC Bill introduced in the 1955 session which died in the Senate Labor Committee. The 1957 Senate has changed, however. It has 20 Democratic members and 20 Republicans and it is known that some of the Republicans are friendly to this type bill as a matter of policy.
A companion bill, which carries an appropriation for enforcement is A.B. 2001. The policy bill requires a bare majority to pass whereas the appropriation bill needs a two-thirds majority.
Assemblyman Hawkins said his bill follows closely the language of FEPC laws operating in New York and ten other states. It would set up a commission of five members to prevent discrimination in employment based on race, religion or national origin. The law would apply equally to employers, labor unions and private employment agencies.
The bill calls for the establishment of a principal office (the location to be decided by the commission) and such branch offices as may be deemed necessary. The salary of each of the five commissioners would be $10, 500 a year. Such office help as may be necessary is authorized by the act.
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No cudgel or hardboiled method of enforcement is contemplated by the bill which provides for the use of education among other things to procure compliance. There is plenty of kick in the act, however, if kick is needed.
"There is nothing namby pamby about the bill," said Author Hawkins. "It would be a real law designed to meet a real need. But it is drawn in such a way that it will enable honest employers and others who wish to comply to do so with a minimum of compulsion".
Hearings are provided for to afford all persons concerned an opportunity to get their side into the record. Every final decision of the commission would be subject to judicial review.
Observers here said that in view of some of the violence and discrimination being displayed in the south since the Supreme Court's integration decision there is considerable sentiment here for a bill that will reduce the amount of discrimination that exists. The bill, of course, applies to any person who may suffer discrimination in employment for a racial, religious, color or national origin reason.
The bill was referred to the Assembly Committee on Governmental Efficiency and Economy whose Chairman is Ralph Brown, D., Modesto and a majority of whose members are expected to vote for it. The bill will need support from home precincts and grass root sources, however.