The California State Senate today overwhelmingly passed a bill that would ban discrimination based on a person’s caste or class.
The bill from Senator Aisha Wahab (D-Fremont) would specifically add caste as a protected class under the state’s civil rights laws.
“California reaffirms its commitment to stand against discrimination and I’m proud that this is a bipartisan effort amongst my colleagues,” she said in a statement sent to AsAmNews.
The bill passed 34-1.
Despite the overwhelming majority, the bill has been highly controversial and Wasab says she has been the target of death threats
Opponents argue the bill specifically singles out the Indian and South Asian communities and presumes they are guilty.
SB 403 now moves on to the State Assembly.
Wahab is the first Muslim to be elected to the California State Senate, according to the Sacramento Bee.
She is also facing a potential recall organized by Republicans after just five months in office.
Republican Ritesh Tandon is behind the effort. He has run in two failed campaigns for a Congressional seat against Ro Khanna and plans to run again a third time, but this time as a Democrat.
“This is an effort to distract us and intimate us, especially as a brand new Senator, as a young woman of color,” she said.
“This is an effort to distract us and intimidate us, especially as a brand new senator, as a young woman of color, she told the Bee.
Tandon says he is opposed to the anti-Caste discrimination bill who denies caste discrimination exists in the state and also alleges it racially profiles Hindu Americans.
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