A drive to pass a state bill exempting the ritualized burning of worn-out flags from pollution control laws has unexpectedly reignited after a legislative committee killed the measure earlier this month.
The bill was proposed after Ventura's American Legion Post was warned that a flag-burning ceremony held in June on a barbecue grill outside its downtown headquarters violated state laws that prohibit outdoor burning.
Although the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District eventually ruled that the same loophole in state law that allows beach barbecues and other recreational burning also applied to the legion's flag-burning ceremony, Sen. Jack O'Connell (D-San Luis Obispo) agreed to carry a bill expressly allowing such rituals.
But the bill fell one vote short of passage in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on Sept. 2, only to be resurrected Wednesday night. The bill then zipped through the Assembly on a 64-11 vote and was scheduled to come before the Senate on Thursday evening. Today is the last day of the legislative session.
O'Connell was at a loss to explain the sudden turnabout in the bill's fortunes.
"When you're winning, when they want to do something in your favor, you don't ask," he said.