California Senate Sends Governor Bills Requiring Open UC and CSU Meetings on Executive Compensation, Banning Trans Fats in Schools, Fines for Voter Intimidation, Emergency Preparedness for Colleges, and Requiring Corroboration of “Snitch” Testimony6 min read

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The California Senate passed over 100 bills yesterday, many of them going to the Governor, and others requiring agreement by the Assembly in amendments before the big guy will get his hands on them. They’ll be back at it today.

Here are a few of the bills that the Senate passed that caught our eye. There are at least a dozen major stories here–and we’ll try to catch up on some of those as well as today’s developments in the Capitol.

SB 490 (Alquist) Bans trans fats at schools (K-8th) from vending machines and cafeterias starting in July 2009. Passed 21 to 14.with all Republican Senators except Maldonado opposed. Goes to the Governor.

SB 609 (Romero) Snitch Testimony- Provides a court may not convict a defendant, find a special circumstance true, or use a fact in aggravation based solely on the uncorroborated testimony of an in-custody informant. Passed 23-14 To the Governor.

SB 850 (Maldonado) This bill enacts the Missing Angels Act and requires a local registrar of births and deaths to issue a Certificate of Still Birth for each naturally occurring fetal death after the 20th week of uterogestation, upon request. (22-11) Senator Maldonado was the only Republican to vote for the bill and all votes against it were by Republican Senators. Originally as drafted this bill was quite controversial as it had language that could have affected a woman’s right to choose. That language was amended out so that those who go through a heartbreaking stillbirth can gain some consolation with a certificate. To the Governor.

SB 152 (Florez) A somewhat controversial bill which allows a city, county, or city and county that has a gambling ordinance in effect on July 1, 2007, prohibiting more than 12 tables, to modify its ordinance to increase the number of gambling tables by an amount not to exceed 45 percent, without having to obtain voter approval. The California Coalition Against Gambling Expansion opposed the bill because it will expand gambling in California. Passed 24-9 and goes to the Governor.

SB 594 (Romero) appropriates $6 million to Witness Relocation Program. According to Senator Romero, the CWPP is substantially under funded and had only $3 million to reimburse all 58 county prosecutors for witness relocation costs–the same level of funding originally established in 1998. As a result, witnesses have been terminated from the program almost immediately after testifying. Passed 38 to 0. It goes to the Governor.

SB 190 (Yee) This bill requires open and public meetings for the UC Regents and California State University Board of Trustees acting on executive compensation must occur in open public meetings. Passed 38-0 to the Governor.

SB 67 (Perata) This bill cracks down on sideshows and reckless driving. The original bill had a sunset date of Jan 2007, this bill reinstate this into law. Passed 38 to 0 and to the Governor.

AB 105 (Lieu) Prohibits persons less than 14 years of age from using ultraviolet tanning devices and prohibits a person between the ages of 14 and 18 from using an ultraviolet tanning device unless that person’s parent or legal guardian provides consent.

Assemblymember Lieu stated: “AB 105 is a public health bill intended to address the epidemic of skin cancer in America and implements recommendations from the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Medical Association to increase the age threshold for using ultraviolet tanning beds to 18….as a society, we have placed age limits on teens in many aspects of their lives, regardless of parental wishes, such as drinking, smoking and voting, yet we currently allow them to use tanning facilities with virtually no limitations, even though we know that exposure to ultraviolet radiation can be life-threatening and is a classified carcinogen.” Passed 25 to 12 with all votes against it from Republican Senators. The Assembly must concur in amendments before it goes to the Governor.

AB 262 (Coto) Prohibit banks and other commercial entities, while soliciting in UC/CSU/Community colleges public campus areas, from offering gifts to students who complete credit card applications. Sponsored by the Greenlining Institute. Passed 27 to 10 with Republican Senators comprising the opposition. Assembly must concur in amendments before it goes to the Governor.

AB 502 (Charles Calderon) This bill enacts a two-year pilot program that requires the City of Los Angeles to contract with a nonprofit organization to provide aid to victims of domestic violence who are undocumented immigrants (subject to appropriation in the Budget Act of no more than $145,000) Passed 22 to 15. All Senate Republicans voted against the measure despite the lack of any formal opposition. The Assembly must concur before it goes to the Governor.

AB 288 (Price) This bill allows a court to require any person convicted of voter intimidation to pay a fine, with the fine revenues used to pay for voter education campaigns to respond to that act of voter intimidation. This is another bill in response to the Orange County congressional race where a letter sent to immigrants, legal or not, caused a big controversy last year. Passed 35-0 and Assembly concurrence needed before it goes to the Governor.

SB 166 (Negrete McLeod) This bill requires the Chancellors Office of the California Community Colleges, by January 1, 2009, to develop emergency preparedness standards and guidelines to assist community college districts and campuses in the event of a natural disaster, hazardous conditions, or terrorist activity on or around campus. Timely in light of the tragic shooting at Viorginia Tech University earlier this year. Passed 38 to 0 and goes to the Governor.

AB 1142 (Salas) Requires the Department of Public Health to select and distribute end-of-life and palliative care model programs to nursing home and residential care for the elderly facilities. Passed 23 to10 and needs Assembly concurrence before going to the Governor.

SB 52 (Scott) Modifies the requirements for credentials issued to Career Technical Education teachers and requires the Commission on Teacher Credentialing to align the credential subject areas to the 15 industry sectors identified in the California Career Technical Education Model Curriculum Standards adopted by the State Board of Education. Passed 38 to 0. Goes to the Governor.

SB 959 (Romero) Home detention where jails overcrowded. Permits a county board of supervisors, upon determination by the county correctional administrator that conditions in a jail facility require the release of sentenced misdemeanor inmates prior to the completion of their jail term due to lack of space, to authorize the correctional administrator to offer a program in which specified inmates may be required to participate in an involuntary home detention program in lieu of jail time, as specified, and requires those inmates on home detention to be electronically monitored. Passed 33 to 2. Goes to Governor.

SB 624 (Padilla) increases the civil penalties under the Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement (STAKE) Act and expands the agencies that are permitted to carry out investigations of illegal tobacco sales to minors under the STAKE Act, from the Department of Public Health to include the Attorney General and other state and local agencies.

Supported by the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association,American Lung Association of California, California Dental Association, California Hospital Association, and the California Nurses Association, and opposed by 7-Eleven Stores, the California Distributors Association, and the California Grocers Association, SB 624 was opposed by 14 Republican Senators and passed by 23 Senate Democrats, and Republican Abel Maldonado who crossed party lines and voted for it. The tobacco industry is smart enough to not enter into formal opposition to bills such as these which many Republican legislators vote for. To the Governor.

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