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California Draft Registration/Driver License Bill Fails to Leave Committee

  • Proposal could still be reactivated
    through January 2002

Previous Alerts

The bill linking draft registration and driver's licenses in California, AB 1572, was kept in the "suspense file" by the Assembly Finance Committee and failed to meet the deadline for floor votes in the last legislative session. However, it was categorized as a two-year bill, which means it can be activated until January 2002 without having to start the committee process all over again.

ACTION NEEDED: Californians and national organizations outside the state should continue to send opposition letters to Assemblywoman Carole Migden, Chair, Assembly Appropriations Committee, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814. For details on the bill, see the May-June-July 2001 Draft NOtices, check the COMD Web site or call us.

Law Requiring School Access for the Military Still Threatens

A federal proposal that would undermine the ability of secondary schools to protect students from aggressive military recruiters is still under consideration in Congress (see article, "Military Escalates Assault on Civilian Schools," May-June-July). The proposal is currently stalled in a joint House/Senate conference committee, along with the larger education bill to which it was attached by Representative David Vitter (R-Louisiana). The parent bill is HR 1, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

The military recruitment provision of the legislation states: "Any secondary school that receives Federal funds under this Act shall permit regular United States Armed Services recruitment activities on school grounds, in a manner reasonably accessible to all students of such school."

Federal recruiter access proposals in the past, including a non-mandatory one passed by Congress last year, have sought to guarantee that military representatives would be granted the same access to high school students given to private employers and colleges. If a school limited the access of employers and colleges, it could place similar restrictions on military recruiters.

The Pentagon already has a substantial presence in the vast majority of secondary schools with its literature in campus career centers and offices, posters in hallways and classrooms, dominating displays at school career fairs, and routine visits by recruiters during school hours. In addition, there are a growing number of military/school partnerships, JROTC units and other in-school, military-sponsored programs.

Not content with the current privileges already enjoyed by the military in our schools -- or even with the standard of equal treatment -- the proponents of this new measure are seeking to secure a legal guarantee of access for the Pentagon that is not provided to others, including peace and social change groups that seek to present alternative information to students. Counter-recruitment activists can cite court rulings that support their right to equal access, but they often have to wage intense struggles to overcome resistance by school officials. (For information on the access rights of counter-recruitment activists, see at the COMD Web site.)

If the mandatory access law passes, schools that have implemented restrictions on recruiting activities, including those that refuse to release student directory lists to the military, may be forced to abandon those policies, a serious setback to those struggling against the militarization of young people and society in general.

The Senate version of the education bill did not contain a mandatory school access provision like the House version, but it did include a proposal for a campaign to educate schools about the non-mandatory law that was passed last year and goes into effect in July 2002. The joint House/Senate conference committee must decide which of the two provisions to include in the final legislation that will be sent back to Congress later this year. According to a staff person for Senate education committee chair Edward Kennedy, conference committee work will be finished in mid-September to mid-October.

ACTION NEEDED: Write to Senator Edward Kennedy (Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510) and urge him to oppose any amendments to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 that would penalize local school districts for restricting activities of military recruiters on their campuses.


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