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SACRAMENTO - Assembly Bill 2943 (Lieber) was approved April 15 by the Assembly Committee on Public Safety. If approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor, the bill would make the ordinary practice of spanking a child by a parent a criminal act.
This legislation, veiled as a prohibition of corporal punishment and child abuse, makes no distinction between an acceptable form of parental discipline - a spanking - and the violent act of "brandishing a deadly weapon upon a child."
Assembly member Sally Lieber, who has publicly stated she opposes spanking of any kind, is continuing her crusade at criminalizing parents who use spanking as a form of discipline. While careful not to include the word "spanking," AB 2943 would make no distinction between a commonly used, appropriate form of discipline - a spank - and other more violent, inappropriate acts toward children. If a person is convicted of violating this law, the children could be removed from the home and the parent could spend time in jail.
"No one is in favor of child abuse and our society must do everything in its power to prevent violence toward children," stated Everett Rice, the legislative coordinator for California Family Council. "But the way this bill is written, a legitimate spanking can be equated with cutting a child. The accepted use of a swat with a hand could be construed as child abuse." California Family Council's (CFC) goal is to protect children from child abuse, while protecting the rights of parents and how they raise their children. CFC will work hard against this legislation as it moves through the legislative process.