Political Notebook

Valley legislators split, or don’t vote, on Redskins legislation

Assembly Member Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, voted “no” on the Redskins bill.
Assembly Member Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, voted “no” on the Redskins bill.

A bill that bans Redskins as a public-school mascot has cleared the state Legislature and is on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

Assembly Bill 30 passed the state Senate Tuesday on a 25-10 vote, and the made it through the Assembly Thursday on a 60-10 vote.

The bill divided the Legislature’s San Joaquin Valley delegation, with two members voting yes and seven members voting no.

Voting “yes” were Assembly Members Henry T. Perea, Fresno Democrat, and Rudy Salas, a Bakersfield Democrat.

On the no side from the state Assembly were Adam Gray, a Merced Democrat, Devon Mathis, a Visalia Republican, and Kristin Olsen, a Modesto Republican. On the state Senate side, Ceres Republican Anthony Cannella, Bakersfield Republican Jean Fuller and Hanford Republican Andy Vidak cast “no” votes.

In between the yeas and the neas were the “no votes recorded.”

Fresno Republican Jim Patterson and O’Neals Republican Frank Bigelow in the Assembly and Twain Harte Republican Tom Berryhill and Stockton Democrat Cathleen Galgiani in the state Senate did not vote.

Representatives of Patterson, Bigelow and Berryhill did not respond queries on their votes.

There are four schools in California that have the Redskins mascot: Chowchilla High and Tulare Union High, as well as Calaveras High in Calaveras County and Gustine High in Merced County.

Cathy Mederos, president of the Tulare Joint Union High School District board of trustees, said the district has the backing of at least one local Indian tribe to keep the name as is.

"Since 1924, we've been using the name and have been very respectful," she said. "The community was hopeful the decision would be left to the local board. If the bill moves forward, we'll address the issue at that time."

The school district fought AB 30, even taking about 30 Tulare Union student leaders this summer to Sacramento to speak before the Senate Education Committee.

The district also sent a letter to the governor and legislators noting that the cost of changing the mascot and name on school facilities and uniforms could range anywhere from $700,000 to $1 million, which isn't in the school district's budget.

John Ellis: 559-441-6320, @johnellis24. Bee staff writer Lewis Griswold contributed to this story.