CA - Bill
Display of American Flag in Deed Restricted Communities

Legislators Rally Behind American Flag Bill 
Senator Monteith’s legislation would enhance display rights
Published May 1, 2002
Today, Senator Dick Monteith (R-Modesto) and many state legislators hosted a press conference at the State Capitol to rally support behind a bill that will enhance the right of property owners to display the American flag.

“Senate Bill 2032 has received tremendous support from my constituents, my legislative colleagues and various veterans organizations across the state,” said the bill’s author, Senator Monteith. “I’m committed to ensuring that all Californians have the right to display our symbol of freedom, regardless of where they live.” 

Since the tragic terrorist attack of September 11, the display of the flag of the United States has proliferated in ways that were never imagined. Unfortunately, some homeowner associations (HOAs), under the protection of the Davis Stirling Act, have denied homeowners living in common interest developments the right to display the American flag from flag poles, balconies and windows.

Those who defy these rules are fined. These fines are levied for each day the homeowner refuses to take down the flag and can even result in liens against their property.

Senator Monteith drafted and introduced SB 2032 soon after he learned that the restrictions HOAs were making were permitted under California law. 

“This assault on patriotic Californians must stop,” said Monteith. “The ownership of property in a common interest development does not supercede the right to display the American flag. May we never lose sight of what our American flag represents.”

The Monteith measure amends legislation passed in 1989 that prohibited any private entity or governmental agency from entering into a contract that prevented individuals from displaying the flag of the United States. In addition, the bill will provide the prevailing party of any legal action brought forth because of the display of the flag with attorney’s fees and costs, a penalty currently missing from the law.

Legislators from across the state joined Senator Monteith to support his legislation at this morning’s press conference.

“The American flag is not a nuisance, the people who would prevent the display of the American flag are the real nuisance,” said Senator Rico Oller (R-San Andreas).

“Men and women in uniform fought and died and continue to put their lives on the line for the ideals symbolized by Old Glory,” said Assemblymember Dennis Hollingsworth (R-Murrieta). “The least we can do in the State Legislature is protect that symbol of freedom they fought under."

“In this era when we are so concerned about self expression, it seems only right to not put excessive limits on patriotic expression," said Assemblyman Dave Cogdill (R-Modesto).

Senator Monteith was joined by Senator Rico Oller, Senator William “Pete” Knight, Assemblymember, Assemblymember Dave Cogdill, Assemblymember Dennis Hollingsworth, Assemblymember Mark Wyland and Assemblymember Charlene Zettel. 

SB 2032 will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 7. People from across the state will come to the State Capitol to testify in support of Monteith’s bill, including the homeowner and neighbor of Debra Burlingame, Lynnette Goldner. Debra is the sister of Captain Charles (Chic) Burlingame, who was the pilot of American Airlines Flight 77, en route from Washington Dulles Airport to Los Angeles, when terrorists took control and crashed the plane into the Pentagon on September 11th. Lynnette lives in a common interest development community in Los Angeles. Following September 11, Lynnette was denied the right to fly the American flag in memory of Captain Burlingame.

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