Keene’s battles on the floor

To find out what our assemblyman has been up to since giving us the cold shoulder, we turned to the Internet and unearthed the following:

• Keene has spoken out strongly and repeatedly against bills that would protect or expand the rights of gays and gay couples. He’s railed against any bill that would recognize marriage between a homosexual couple because, he told the Enterprise-Record in May, “granting more rights and responsibilities to domestic partners would undermine ‘the traditional family,'” which he called “something we want to treasure.”

• AB 458 would ban discrimination against homosexuals who wish to become foster parents and also provide some measure of assurance that gay foster children do not suffer at the hands of their foster parents.

Keene opposed the bill, noting that two-thirds of families in the state who provide foster care have a religious background. That, he argued, would lead many of them to be faced with a difficult dilemma at a time when the state is having trouble finding foster-care families.

• Besides the traditional family, in Keene’s mind high-school mascots are also endangered. AB 858, by Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, D-Los Angeles, would prohibit mascot names such as the Indians or the Redskins or any that could be considered demeaning to a particular culture or race.

Keene’s response: “I have yet to see a school that does not take their mascots as a matter of pride. Nobody wants to run onto the football field and say, ‘We’re the Sacramento Marshmallows,’ or, ‘We’re the Sacramento Slugs.'”

Keene is a graduate of Hayfork High School, home of the TimberJacks. He did not attend UC Santa Cruz, home of the Banana Slugs.

• Speaking of sports, the Assembly approved in June, by a 63-9 vote, a bill to authorize a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $2,000 fine for hitting a fan or an athlete during an amateur or professional event.

Keene voted no, arguing that “A battery always ought to be prosecuted, whether it’s at an athletic event or any event.”

• In the sports of guns and hunting, Keene, as vice chairman of the Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife, voted against a bill that would outlaw the use of dogs to hunt bobcats and bears. (Dogs tree the prey so their hunter/owners can get an easier shot.)

• Keene also voted against a bill that would have required the registration of a hunting and target rifle that is able to deliver a 50-caliber bullet a mile’s distance. Keene said, ''There’s really no difference between this weapon and any other rifle out there. We’re proposing to regulate them because they’re scary looking.'’

• On the war effort, Keene and Assemblyman Tim Leslie were so outraged by the conduct from the Democrats while trying to adopt a resolution supporting the Iraq war that they drove to Sacramento radio station KFBK to alert the public with an unannounced appearance on The Mark Williams Show.

They did so, according to the Patriotwatch Web site, because the Democrats wanted the resolution to say something like “Let’s hope the war ends soon,” and the Republicans wanted the resolution to say “Support our president.” A compromise was struck that said “Support our troops.”

Patriotwatch said the Demos had committed “tyranny” and added, “Our thanks to Representatives Leslie and Keen [sic] for a heroic fight to support our troops.”­Tom Gascoyne