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Orange County Focus

Countywide : Committee Rejects Anti-Graffiti Bill

July 14, 1993|ERIC BAILEY

An Orange County lawmaker's effort to stem the tide of graffiti rolling across the region was scuttled Tuesday by the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

The committee failed to approve a bill from state Sen. John R. Lewis (R-Orange) that would have prohibited convicted graffiti vandals from holding a driver's license.

"I was surprised because this bill didn't have much opposition until now," said Christopher Jones, Lewis' chief of staff.

Under the legislation, minors convicted of graffiti vandalism would have had their driver's license suspended for a year. If they were under 16, they would not be allowed to get a license until age 17.

Originally, the bill included a provision requiring that at least one parent of a convicted vandal participate in graffiti cleanup or pay a fine of $1,000. That portion of the bill was deleted, however, when the bill was being debated in the Senate.

With the measure watered down, Lewis and the bill's boosters felt it would have a shot in the Assembly Public Safety Committee, which has traditionally shot down legislation deemed contrary to civil liberties.

But the committee voted the bill down, with several Democratic lawmakers from Northern California opposing it. Jones speculated that the northern legislators don't see graffiti as a huge problem because their region has not been hit as hard as Orange County and other parts of Southern California.

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