June 3, 2009
The Turkish-American Legal Defense Fund (TALDF) has announced that a bill called the Justice for Genocide Victims Bill, which was introduced by California Assembly member Paul Krekorian, has been blocked by California Appropriations Committee Chairman Kevin de Leon.
The bill, known as Assembly Bill 961 (AB 961), was introduced in early 2009 by Assembly member Krekorian, a Democrat elected to the California state legislature in 2006. Krekorian tried to persuade the assembly by saying that AB 961 would prevent California from awarding contracts to companies that have profited from genocide. However, TALDF insistently objected to the bill and presented to the assembly two separate written statements explaining why they oppose the bill.
“The United States as a whole maintains a single foreign policy as authorized by the Constitution. The individual states may not intrude upon or compromise this policy. The framers of the Constitution recognized that the peoples of the several states must sink or swim together, and that in the long run, security and national interests are made by the union and not in a foreign policy Tower of Babel. The intent of AB 961 to create a foreign policy for California makes it unconstitutional,” said one of the statements introduced to the Committee on Business and Professions and the Committee on Judiciary of the California State Assembly.
TALDF has expressed pleasure at the fact that the rejection of AB 961 has actually sent a message to all of the states that no individual state, according to the Constitution, should deal with foreign policy.
TALDF, founded last year, assists Turkish-Americans with their constitutional citizenship rights.
Meanwhile, the English-language Asbarez newspaper reported recently that Senate Bill 234 (SB 234), authored by California Senator Mark Wyland (R-northern San Diego County) is now on its way to the full Senate floor for consideration. Known as the Genocide Awareness Act, the bill instructs the California State Curriculum Commission to consider the inclusion of an oral history component in its already mandated genocide education curriculum.
Asbarez noted that Turkish Coalition of America board member Bruce Fein traveled from Washington, D.C., in an effort to undermine SB 234 as well as AB 961.