California Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Sally Lieber (California Assembly)

A California-based pro-family group is launching an alert to parents that their authority to discipline their own children is being threatened by a proposal in the state assembly, despite statements made by the plan’s sponsor.

At issue is AB755, a plan introduced this week by California Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View, that is billed as a plan for “corporal punishment.”

It would add a new declaration to California’s Penal Code that “fatal abuse” of children “is too often the result of hitting or shaking by caregivers under the guise of discipline,” so “it is therefore wholly reasonable that the integrity and sanctity of their bodies should be afforded the greatest protection possible under the law.”

“According to the bill, a parent who spanks their child would be placed on probation for four years, would be forced to attend a ‘nonviolent parental education class’ and the child would receive a criminal court protective order ‘protecting the victim from further acts of violence,'” said Karen England, executive director of Capitol Resource Institute.

But, she said, “media outlets are falsely reporting that the spanking ban has been dropped. In fact, the bill is still a ban on spanking. Assemblywoman Lieber has claimed that she is no longer going to ban ‘spanking.’ This is mere semantics as AB755 on its face bans the use of force in disciplining a child.”

England said the announcement by Lieber that her plan is just “a bill to clarify and strengthen California law protecting children, especially infants and toddlers,” and that “good parents have no reason for concern as a result of this legislation…” is a typical maneuver in California politics.

“This is a tactic often used by politicians to make their legislation seem benign when in fact it is still just as bad,” England said.

“Parents often use a wooden spoon or ruler to spank their children. This legislation actually bans the use of ‘a stick, a rod, a switch, a belt’ – tools often used by responsible parents in spanking disobedient children,” said England. “As a parent, I am angered that the government is declaring my disobedient child ‘a victim’ and intervening in the raising of my children.”

The Lieber plan “creates a ‘rebuttable presumption’ that when parents discipline their children, they are abusers,” said Meredith Turney, CRI’s legislative liaison. “The government is basically telling parents that when they use responsible discipline in training their children, they are the criminals.

“Discipline is used to protect children from disobedient behavior that could harm them. It is appalling that the government is treating parents like criminals when there are dangerous sexual predators on our streets,” she said.

“Assemblywoman Lieber is purposely misleading the citizens of California when she claims to have ‘abandoned’ the spanking ban. And the media have become her accomplices in this deception,” said England. “Make no mistake, AB755 is a serious attack on parental authority.”

As WND reported just a day earlier, officials for the pro-family Campaign for Children and Families said Lieber’s bill is a specific attack on parental authority, providing an outright ban on spanking with a utensil such as a spoon, and leaving it up to judges to decide if spanking with an open hand is legal or not.

Randy Thomasson, the president of the CCF, a California-based pro-family group, said it would just be a matter of time before moms and dads would be arrested and cuffed for trying to discipline a youngster.

“We are calling upon California voters to rise up and demand that the government keep its big nose out of the family home,” he said. “Lawmakers should focus on protecting children from sexual predators and real abusers, instead of targeting good, loving parents who implement healthy, occasionally spanking as part of their children’s upbringing.”

Thomasson said it’s clear that child abuse needs to be prevented. But it should be handled separately. “Legitimate child abuse provisions in this bill, such as ‘vigorous shaking of a child under the age of three,’ deserve to be in another bill and completely separated from spanking,” the group said.

“Does occasional spanking of rebellious children correct them and help to shape them to be law-abiding adults who respect authority, or does it transform them into violent criminals?” asked Thomasson. “The proof is in the pudding. Millions of Americans who were appropriately spanked will tell you they needed to be spanked. The greatest generation, those who fought World War II, well remembers the switch and the paddle. They were a very well-behaved, law-abiding generation.”

The proposal had been dissected already in the media. Before its introduction, the Contra Costa Times said the bill, “is completely unenforceable. Are we to expect a 2-year-old to dial 911 and report a parent for swatting him or her on the behind?”

The editorial took a straightforward shot at the issue.

“With all of the pressing problems facing our state, what issue has the knickers of our esteemed lawmakers in such a twist? What burning concern has the ponderous pundits on the cable news shows frothing at the mouth?

“Global warming? Plunging real estate values? Good-paying jobs being shipped off to India every time you turn around? Maybe the governor’s new health care proposal?

“None of the above.

“The latest meaningless, national distraction, is a silly bill proposed by Assembly Pro Tem Speaker Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View, that would make it a crime to spank any child 3 years old or younger.”

The editorial’s suggestion? “Get real.”

Brad Dacus, of the Pacific Justice Institute, earlier called it another effort to expand the reach of government.

“Even without this proposed new law, California gives such wide latitude to Child Protective Services that decent parents often get falsely charged with child abuse,” Dacus said. “How much more if the state tries to outlaw all corporal punishment on young children?”

“This goes back to [last year] when the gay mandates and cirruculum came up,” England told WND. “It comes up when the national media pays attention. That’s really our only hope in California. We need to be even more vigilant.”

California’s legislature in the last session turned in an aggressive effort at using the power of the state to mandate families’ behavior. Lawmakers in that session approved a series of “sexual indoctrination” bills that failed only because of gubernatorial vetoes.

The plans would have required the state Board of Education to increase sensitivity to so-called “discrimination” by providing unlimited discretion for officials to withhold state funding from schools considered out of “compliance” with those requirements.

A second plan would have integrated “tolerance training” into history and social science curriculums and started a pilot program to force a “new definition” of tolerance on students. That would require them to not only accept homosexuality but advocate for that.

The third part of the plan would have censored any school teaching materials or activities from “reflecting adversely” upon homosexuals, bisexuals or transgenders.

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