Thursday, January 01, 1998


The ban on smoking in bars even made the international news (well, it was a slow news week), but what else did Calif's legislatidiots get up to in their nearly 1000 new laws? Some excerpts below. Remember, breast feeding good, cloning bad:

Welfare overhaul--Among many changes in welfare law, no welfare recipient can be on welfare for more than five years. During any one stint, new welfare applicants will be limited to 18 months of aid. Able-bodied recipients must work or participate in job training for 20 hours a week, and make sure their children attend school. (AB 1542 by Assemblywoman Denise Ducheny, D-San Diego).

Testing--Students in grades 2 through 11 will have to take a standardized achievement test. Until now, districts had a choice of many tests. (SB 376 by Sen. Dede Alpert, D-Coronado).

Threats--School authorities acquire the authority to expel students who make violent threats against school personnel or property. (AB 307 by Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian, R-Carlsbad).

Executions--Immediate family members of victims must be allowed to witness executions if they want. (AB 566 by Assemblyman Tom McClintock, R-Northridge).

Adult sex offenders--People found not guilty of a sex crime by reason of insanity must register as sex offenders. (AB 290 by Assemblywoman Barbara Alby, R-Fair Oaks).

Rapists--Convicted rapists are prohibited from obtaining custody of, or visiting without supervision, children conceived as a result of the rape. (AB 1222 by Assemblyman Roderick Wright, D-Los Angeles).

Cock fighting--A bill backed by Sheriff Sherman Block makes it easier to seize roosters and other fighting animals and the paraphernalia associated with such pursuits; also allows judges to order the animals killed. (SB 196 by Sen. Pete Knight, R-Palmdale).

Sex offenders--Juveniles convicted of some types of rape must register with police as sex offenders. (SB 314 by Sen. Ruben Ayala, D-Chino).

Victims--Victims of juvenile crime can submit written statements about the impact of the crime on their lives in reports to judges who sentence the delinquents. (SB 1195 by Sen. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank).

Identity--By approval of a juvenile court judge, police can publicly identify minors who are sought for arrest in various felonies. (SB 1058 by Sen. Adam Schiff D-Burbank).

Tattoos--The California Youth Authority must buy laser equipment to remove tattoos from juveniles leaving custody to seek jobs. The procedure will occur at sites to be selected in Los Angeles County and the Bay Area. (SB 526 by Sen. Tom Hayden, D-Los Angeles).

Hearsay exception--Sworn statements from witnesses who later die under suspicious circumstances are admissible in gang crimes--an exception to the usual rule barring of hearsay testimony. (SB 941 by Sen. Tim Leslie, R-Carnelian Bay).

Gun crimes--In a bill dubbed the "10-20-life" measure by its backers, criminals who carry a gun during the commission of a crime will face an additional 10 years in prison. Anyone who fires a gun faces an extra 20 years in prison. If the bullet injures a victim, the criminal faces life in prison. (AB 4 by Assemblyman Tom Bordonaro, R-Paso Robles).

Ammo sales--It's now against the law to sell ammunition that can be used in concealed weapons to persons under 21. (AB 1221 by Assemblywoman Dion Aroner, D-Berkeley).

Gun noise--Shooting ranges are exempt from liability for the noise they generate. (SB 517 by Sen. Ray Haynes, R-Riverside).

Grenades--It no longer will be legal to possess practice military hand grenades, or replicas, that can be altered to explode--a source of weaponry used by some Los Angeles gangs. (AB 202 by Assemblyman Jack Scott, D-Altadena).

Drugs and driving--The Legislature extended until 1999 a law requiring that anyone convicted of any drug offense will lose his or her license for six months, whether or not the offense was related to driving. (AB 74 by Assemblyman Larry Bowler, R-Elk Grove).

Breast feeding--Women can breast feed their children in public without fear that they will be asked to leave business establishments or face other repercussions. (AB 157 by Assemblyman Antonio Villaraigosa, D-Los Angeles).

Self-esteem--The state Department of Social Services is required to disseminate information to foster homes and child welfare organizations declaring the importance of self-esteem. (SB 916 by Sen. John Vasconcellos, D-Santa Clara). [Jerry Brown lives!]

Cloning--No person may clone a human being or purchase or sell an ovum, zygote, embryo, or fetus for the purpose of cloning a human being. Violators may be fined by health authorities. (SB 1344 by Sen. Pat Johnston, D-Stockton).

Pain relief--Doctors are required to offer patients the option of taking opiates such as morphine to relieve severe and lasting pain, even if the doctor does not personally wish to write the prescription. (SB 402 by Sen. Leroy Greene, D-Carmichael).

Body piercing--It's now an infraction for anyone to pierce the lip, tongue, nose, eyebrow or body part other than ears of someone under age 18 unless the child's parent is present, or provides consent in a notarized letter. (AB 99 by Assemblyman George Runner, R-Lancaster).

Cyber-seduction--Use of the Internet to distribute material calculated to sexually seduce minors becomes a crime punishable by jail or prison time. (AB 181 by Assemblyman Steve Kuykendall, R-Rancho Palos Verdes).

Endangered species--Developers, miners and other landowners may kill or harm an endangered species or its habitat if they compensate fully for the loss, through habitat creation or other means. (SB 879 by Sen. Patrick Johnston, D-Stockton).

Farmers--Growers may kill an endangered species without penalty if it is an accident that occurs during routine agricultural practices. (SB 231 by Sen. Jim Costa, D-Fresno).

State dirt--"San Joaquin soil" is now designated as the official California state dirt. (SB 389 by Sen. Dick Monteith, R-Modesto).

Pig menace--People don't need to get a permit to kill wild pigs, so long as the porker is threatening life, livestock or property. (SB 329 by Sen. Bruce McPherson, R-Santa Cruz).

Tobacco crimes--It's now illegal for youths under age 18 to attempt to purchase cigarettes or other tobacco products. Previously, Tobacco crimes--It's now illegal for youths under age 18 to attempt to purchase cigarettes or other tobacco products. Previously, it was illegal for them to possess tobacco products. (SB 198 by Sen. David Kelley, R-Idyllwild).

Tobacco liability--Tobacco products lose their automatic protection from liability lawsuits charging damage to health. (SB 67 by Sen. Quentin Kopp, I-San Francisco).

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