Nevada has decided to repeal a state law that allows job discrimination against communists. A 12-member Legislative Commission agreed to introduce a bill at the 2013 session that would repeal a law passed in 1951 during the anti-communist fervor of the Cold War.
The law allows employers to reject job applications from communists and their sympathizers, and to fire any communists in their workforce. Staffers say the law has remained on the books, even though Congress repealed similar federal laws in 1971.
The law took effect as Communists were infiltrating all walks of American life, concerns that gained the national stage with hearings conducted by U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. Thousands of Americans, including entertainers, teachers, union activists and government employees were accused of being Communists or sympathizers.
Nevada’s U.S. Senator Patrick McCarran secured passage by Congress of a bill creating the federal Subversive Activities Control Board. The law required the registration of communist-front organizations with the U.S. attorney general, and paved the way for states to approve their own anti-communist laws.
No Nevada lawmakers who voted on the 61-year-old state law are alive today. It’s unknown whether the law has ever been enforced.