No-spanking bill sent to corner

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first_imgLieber’s colleagues in the Legislature saw things differently. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nu ez, D-Los Angeles, believed it made the Legislature look out of touch at a time he’s trying to boost its public image. Lieber encountered similar resistance from other lawmakers. A spokesman for Nu ez said the speaker was pleased Lieber narrowed the focus of her bill. “She made it more palatable, and the speaker spoke to her several times about doing that,” the spokesman, Steve Maviglio, said. “And she was wise enough to listen to the reaction.” Lieber said the proposal would have provided clarity in the law about what type of parental discipline is allowed. mzapler@mercurynews.com (916) 441-4603160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – In the end, Sally Lieber’s proposal got spanked. After a month of nationwide publicity and much ridicule, the Mountain View assemblywoman on Thursday dropped her idea to criminalize spanking young children, bowing to opposition from fellow lawmakers who worried it made the state Legislature look kooky. “The votes simply were not there,” a disappointed Lieber said at a news conference. Lieber instead introduced a watered-down bill that would prohibit other types of physical punishment, such as using a belt, stick, extension cord or other instrument on a child or vigorously shaking a baby under age 3. But a swat on the behind will continue to be legal, so long as it doesn’t cause serious injury. Lieber’s announcement ends a whirlwind ride for the 45-year-old Democratic lawmaker, whose idea last month sparked an outcry among parents and became irresistible fodder for late-night comedy shows. She fielded more than 60 interview requests from media outlets across the country about a proposal that never was actually introduced as legislation. Lieber insisted through the end that the criticism and mockery didn’t bother her. “We have welcomed the publicity around the bill, including the negative publicity,” Lieber said. “We want to get people talking about it.” She certainly accomplished that. A MediaNews story describing her idea to make it a misdemeanor to spank kids age 3 and younger sparked more than a thousand online comments. Even though people overwhelmingly opposed the idea – saying they resented a politician, especially one without children, telling them how to raise their kids – it sparked a debate at water coolers and dinner tables. With all the publicity, “many people we’ve talked to already think the Legislature has passed a ban on spanking,” Lieber said. “And that’s just fine with us, because we would like to stop all physical punishment of children.” last_img read more