A California Democrat Wants to Make International Workers’ Day a Paid Holiday

Assemblyman Miguel Santiago / Facebook
May 14, 2018

The California State Assembly debated legislation Thursday introduced by Democratic Assemblyman Miguel Santigo that would make "International Workers' Day," a holiday with Socialist and Communist roots, a paid state holiday.

In California, schools are closed in observance of both "Washington Day," the third Monday in February, and "Lincoln Day," the Monday or Friday of the week in which February 12 occurs. Santiago's legislation would authorize schools in California to combine both Washington and Lincoln's birthday into one day, designating the third Monday in February as "President's Day," in exchange for designating May 1 International Workers' Day, according to the Daily Caller.

The legislation also specifies that schools opting to observe Presidents' Day and International Workers' Day would be required to "commemorate and direct attention to the history of labor movements in the United States."

If signed into law, the legislation would make California the first state in the nation to require schools shut their doors in observance of International Workers' Day.

While the measure was being debated, Republican Assemblyman Matthew Harper took to the floor to denounce the legislation.

"I’m aghast that a bill like this would be able to get through committee," Harper said. "Granted, it's California but seriously ... Are we going that far to the left?"

Harper said the legislation was "ridiculous" and wasn't in line with the values that America protruded in its nearly five-decade standoff with the Soviet Union.

"This is ridiculous; this is insane; this is un-American. And for folks who think that the U.S. won the Cold War with the Soviet Union, this makes it sound like we’re going in the other direction — that indeed California is kowtowing to the Soviet domination of the Cold War," Harper said.

"Are we in competition to be the laughing stock of the United States?" Harper asked.

The legislation, which had previously passed both the Assembly's appropriations and education committees, failed on the floor by a vote of 27-22, with 29 members not voting.

Soon after the bill failed, Santiago made a motion to have the legislation reconsidered.

International Workers' Day has been a staple holiday of communist countries, like the former Soviet Union, but to date has not been recognized in the United States. It coincides with May Day but has different roots than the historically Roman and Germanic May Day celebrations.

This is not the first time that Santiago, a second-term Democrat from Los Angeles, has garnered attention for his legislative endeavors. In January, Santiago announced he would introduce legislation banning Tesla CEO Elon Musk from selling flamethrowers in California.