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The Press of Unfinished Business

September 30, 1990

It's the time of year when Gov. Deukmejian signs and vetoes thousands of bills. Some highlights and lowlights:

OIL: Among his better decisions, he has approved a comprehensive offshore oil-spill prevention and cleanup law, an important protection for the California coastline.

The new law creates a $100-million fund financed by a 25-cent tax per barrel of oil, which is expected to boost the price at the pump by less than a penny. The statute also allows the state to borrow additional money to clean up a spill and increases the accountability of oil companies by requiring them to pay back that sum. It provides other protections for the state's 1,200 miles of coast.

COAST: Deukmejian could have further protected our beaches by strengthening the power of the California Coastal Commission to crack down on illegal development. He vetoed two bills that would have allowed the commission to stop inappropriate housing and commercial developments along fragile coastline and impose fines without wasting time in clogged courts.

QUAKES: With his signature, the governor did provide, however, more peace of mind for homeowners in the event of a major earthquake. The California Recovery Fund will give all homeowners up to $15,000 in earthquake insurance for a fee based on the risk in their area. No one will pay more than $60 a year to reduce the devastating impact of the Big One.

LEAVE: Working parents, however, got short shrift. The governor vetoed a family leave bill that would have required employers to give workers an unpaid leave of up to four months to care for sick children, parents or spouses.

SWEATSHOPS: And, in another blow to vulnerable employees and their children, Deukmejian refused to sign a law that would crack down on sweatshops by toughening the liability of garment manufacturers for abuses committed by their subcontractors. Absent stricter accountability in the garment industry, greedy independent contractors will continue to underpay workers, hire children--like the 7-year-old Santa Ana boy who was paid $1.45 an hour--and take unfair advantage of the state's growing immigrant population.

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