Nevada lawmakers seek to repeal anti-communist law |

Nevada lawmakers seek to repeal anti-communist law

The Associated Press

A Nevada legislative panel has decided it’s high time to repeal a state law that allows job discrimination against communists.The 12-member Legislative Commission unanimously decided this week to introduce a bill at the 2013 session that would repeal a law that was passed in 1951 during the anti-communist fervor of the Cold War.The law allows employers to reject job applications from communists and their sympathizers, and to fire any communists in their workforce.Legislative staffers told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the law has somehow remained on the books, even though Congress repealed similar federal laws in 1971. It’s unknown whether the law has ever been enforced.The law was passed during an era of renewed fears that Communists were infiltrating all walks of American life, concerns that gained the national stage with hearings conducted by U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. Thousands of Americans, including entertainers, teachers, union activists and government employees, were scrutinized and often accused of being Communists or sympathizers. At the time, Nevada politics was dominated by anti-communist U.S. Sen. Patrick McCarran, D-Nev., who secured passage by Congress of a bill creating the federal Subversive Activities Control Board.The law required the registration of communist-front organizations with the U.S. attorney general, and paved the way for states to approve their own anti-communist laws. Congress later abolished the board.No Nevada lawmakers who voted on the 61-year-old state law are alive today.“How could they do it?” asked former U.S. Rep. Barbara Vucanovich, R-Nev. “I am amazed we had this law.”