California Kirpan Education Bill Passes Senate Public Safety Committee

California's proposed law to train law enforcement about Sikh kirpans this week passed the Senate Public Safety Com...

July 17, 2009 (Sacramento, CA) California's proposed law to train law enforcement about Sikh kirpans this week passed the Senate Public Safety Committee with a unanimous vote. The bill will now make its way to the Appropriations Committee before a final vote by the entire CA State Senate in the Fall.

California's Sikhs Make their Voices Heard

The unanimous vote (7-0) of the Senate Public Safety Committee was not an easy accomplishment. It took weeks of work and ultimately involved nearly 500 Sikhs across the State:

1. Over 750 emails from Sikh community members, urging elected officials to pass the bill
2. 30 In-Person Testimonies by California's Sikhs at legislative committee hearings
3. Six full days of meetings with legislative staff members, elected officials and consultants in Sacramento

Kirpan Education Bill Well on Its Way

There are a number of steps for a bill to become law in the CA Legislature. The kirpan education bill is now more than half the way there. The Sikh Coalition will be working closely with the legislature to ensure a smooth passage to the end.  

            Stage of the Legislative Process                              Decision

  1. California Assembly Public Safety Commitee             - Passed in April
  2. California Assembly Appropriations Committee         - Passed in May
  3. Full Assembly Vote                                                   - Passed Unanimously (76-0) in June
  4. California Senate Public Safety Committee                 - Passed in July
  5. California Senate Appropriations Committee              - Hearing to be scheduled in August
  6. Full Senate Vote                                                        - To be scheduled in September
  7. Signature into Law by Governor Schwarzenegger       - Fall 2009

  The Sikh Coalition is very grateful to all of California's sangat for taking action, and especially to Sardar Daljeet Singh and his parents for driving from Los Angeles to Sacramento to testify at the hearing. We would also like to thank Niranjan Singh Khalsa and Nitasha Sawhney who have served as true champions for the bill over the last several months.


The proposed law (AB 504), which was introduced in February 2009 by Assemblymember Warren Furutani (D-Long Beach), would require training about the kirpan for every law enforcement officer who has the ability to make an arrest in California. The bill states explicitly, "It is the Legislature's goal to promote education and awareness of the carrying of the kirpan by Sikhs in California."

After this week's hearing, Assemblymember Furutani addressed the Sikhs gathered there and thanked them for coming. He characterized the successful hearing as "a reflection of the awareness that is growing in California and elsewhere about [the Sikh] community and about your religion." Committee Chair Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) also thanked all the community members for taking the time to come and testify at the hearing.


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