LOS ANGELES (AFP) - A California lawmaker says she has proposed a law that would make spanking a small child a crime to be punished by jail time or a fine.
The bill, backed by Democrat Sally Lieber of San Francisco, a member of the state legislature, would outlaw spanking children three years old or younger and carry a possible penalty of jail time or a 1,000-dollar fine.
"I think it's pretty hard to argue you need to beat a child three years old or younger," said Lieber, who plans to introduce the bill next week.
The bill, which was still being drafted, would make the crime a misdemeanor and be written to ban "any striking of a child, any corporal punishment, smacking, hitting, punching, any of that," Lieber said.
The bill will likely pit those who advocate protecting children at all costs against lawmakers wary of government intervention creating a possible meddlesome "nanny state."
"Where do you stop?" said Republican Chuck Devore. "At what point are we going to say we should pass a bill that every parent has to read a minimum of 30 minutes every night to their child? This is right along those same lines."
Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has the authority to veto the bill if it is adopted, has so far avoided endorsing or rejecting the idea.
In an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, which first reported the proposal this week, the film-star-turned-politician said he was "smacked about everything" during his childhood in Austria.
"That was the way Austria worked," he told the newspaper. "You know, I think it maybe had something to do with after the war. People were maybe more angry and more frustrated, you know, having lost the war or whatever else."
The governor said he understood the desire to "get rid of the physical, the brutal behavior that some parents have."
And he added that he and his wife, Maria Shriver, have never hit their four children. "Absolutely not," he said. Source