Senate Passes Bill Allowing Flag Burning

Veterans’ groups in Ventura County and around the state may soon be able to respectfully burn frayed flags without fear of violating pollution-control laws.

A bill allowing the ritual burning of flags passed the state Senate 39 to 0 Friday night with little discussion, just hours before the Legislature wrapped up its session for the year.

The bill’s passage came after it was unexpectedly resurrected Wednesday night. It was killed in committee Sept. 2.

“Nothing surprises me,” said the bill’s author, Sen. Jack O’Connell (D-Santa Barbara). “I think there was some internal political pressure . . . and that’s why the bill ultimately passed.”


Lt. Gov. Gray Davis vowed to pass a bill exempting ceremonial flag burning from pollution-control laws after the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District received a complaint about a June flag-burning ceremony held by the Ventura American Legion Post.

Community outcry prompted O’Connell to agree to carry the bill.

The bill becomes law if it is signed by Gov. Pete Wilson.