By Harry Keaney
California may soon be the next state to adopt the MacBride Principles promoting fair employment in Northern Ireland.
On March 22, a MacBride bill, introduced by longtime MacBride supporter State Senator John Burton, was passed by the legislature’s public employment and retirement committee. The vote was 3-0.
The bill will now go to the floor of the full senate for a vote.
Despite previous disappointments in California, MacBride advocate Fr. Seán McManus, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Irish National Caucus, is now optimistic that the MacBride Principles will, at last, become law in the Golden State.
"It is my hope that, this time, we will succeed," McManus said. "Past governors of California vetoed the MacBride bill, but the new governor, Gray Davis, is expected to sign MacBride."
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Passage of the MacBride Principles in California would be particularly significant. It would require the state’s retirement systems, which have huge amounts of money invested in companies that do business in Northern Ireland, to annually investigate if these companies are in compliance with the MacBride Principles.
"The California constitution allows the legislature to stop such investments if it so decides," McManus said.