On October 11, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed legislation intended to expunge names of Confederate leaders from schools, parks, and public property throughout the state of California.
The law would have forced schools bearing the name of a Confederate leader to change that name in 2017.
But NBC San Diego reports that Brown’s veto means schools can keep their Confederate names in place. That means Robert E. Lee Middle School (Long Beach) and Robert E. Lee Elementary (San Diego) will not face state-level ramifications for their names. Robert E. Lee Elementary was so “named in the 1950s to honor Lee’s record as an ‘American soldier and educator.'”
Reuters reports that Brown hedged his bets by making clear that his veto of a state ban on Confederate names does not prevent local leaders and communities from changing them. In fact, when vetoing the bill, Brown reportedly said, “Recently we saw a national movement to remove the Confederate flag from state capitols in the South–a long overdue action. This bill, however, strikes me as different and an issue quintessentially for local decision-makers.”
While allowing Confederate names to stand, Brown did sign Assembly Bill 30, which bars California schools from using “Redskins” as their mascot.
The San Francisco Chronicle notes that AB 30 was put forth by Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) and gives public schools “until 2017 to phase out the use of the name ‘Redskins'” because lawmakers found it “racially derogatory” to Native Americans. AB 30 will force a name change at “Gustine High School in Merced County, Calaveras High School in Calaveras County, Chowchilla Union High School in Madera County and Tulare Union High School in Tulare County.”
October 11 was the last day for Brown to decide the fate of bills that had reached his desk.
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