New terror bill akin to "McCarthy-style communist witch-hunt tactics"
SACRAMENTO - A proposed law would give authorities critical new tools to thwart the scary prospects of a terrorist attack in California, supporters said Wednesday, while critics insisted it is a giant step backward to McCarthy-style communist witch-hunt tactics.
Two Republican lawmakers want a system to weed out terrorist cell members who may try to infiltrate state and local agencies as part of attack plans, as well as deal with some educators who may be terrorism sympathizers tainting high school and university students.
"I just don't think we ought to wait around until we get hit," said Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, who co-authored the bill.
But Senate leader Don Perata, D-Oakland, called the bill "outrageous McCarthyism-era government intrusion."
And Assemblyman Guy Houston, R-San Ramon, said, "I would be very hesitant to empower our local school boards to investigate terrorist networks."
DeVore, who is on a committee that oversees the National Guard, said he has proposed deletion of "obsolete" laws from the 1950s regarding communists but saved some parts, inserting provisions to guard against terrorists.