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California Laws '94

December 31, 1993|JERRY GILLAM | Times Staff Writer

On Saturday, many of the 1,307 laws passed by the 1993 Legislature and signed by Gov. Pete Wilson take effect.

Some are aimed at making life easier and safer. Employees can take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave to care for sick family members, and children will be required to wear bicycle helmets.

Several laws are intended to make life more difficult for illegal immigrants. Many laws establish tougher prison sentences for criminals. Here's a sampling. For more information about a particular law, write to the bill's author at the state Capitol, Sacramento, Calif. 95814.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES

Senior citizens--Judges can tack on five years to prison sentences of people convicted of inflicting great bodily harm on victims who are 70 or older. (AB 1549 by Assemblyman Bob Epple, D-Cerritos).

Carjacking--Longer prison penalties can be imposed on people convicted of carjacking crimes, including life imprisonment if the victim is kidnaped or killed. (SB 60 by Sen. Robert Presley, D-Riverside).

Prison weapons--It becomes a felony for inmates of state prisons to make or try to make weapons. (AB 146 by Assemblyman Bernie Richter, R-Chico).

Pornographic videos--It becomes a misdemeanor to rent a movie video and add pornographic footage to shock unsuspecting viewers. (AB 538 by Assemblyman Bernie Richter, R-Chico).

Boot camps--The minimum age is reduced from 16 to 14 for sentencing nonviolent juvenile criminals to military-style boot camps instead of state prison. (SB 242 by Sen. Robert Presley, D-Riverside).

Work time credits--Convicted murderers are barred from using work-time credits to reduce their prison sentences by any more than one-third. (SB 208 by Sen. John R. Lewis, R-Orange).

Bogus police officers--The penalty for conviction of impersonating a police officer will be increased from six months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine to three years in state prison and/or a $10,000 fine. (AB 1664 by Assemblywoman Grace F. Napolitano, D-Norwalk).

SEX CRIMES

Habitual sex offenders--Convicted habitual sex offenders can be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison and must serve a minimum of 20 years before parole can be considered. (SB 41 by Sen. Robert Presley, D-Riverside).

Habitual child molesters--A minimum prison sentence of 20 years is imposed for habitual child molesters convicted of committing specified sex offenses. (AB 526 by Assemblywoman Valerie Brown, D-Sonoma).

Sexual intercourse--It becomes a crime for an adult female to engage in sexual intercourse with a minor male who is not her husband. (SB 22 by Sen. Newton R. Russell, R-Glendale).

Spousal rape--Husbands who rape their wives become subject to the same prison penalties as other rapists. (AB 187 by Assemblywoman Hilda Solis, D-El Monte).

Taped testimony--A victim's videotaped testimony may be submitted as evidence in a court preliminary hearing in spousal rape and domestic violence cases. (SB 178 by Sen. Teresa Hughes, D-Inglewood).

Sexual abuse--A victim may file a criminal complaint charging sexual abuse suffered while a minor, no matter how long ago the alleged offense occurred. (AB 290 by Assemblywoman Paula L. Boland, R-Granada Hills).

Pornographic material--Tougher prison penalties are imposed for adults convicted of child sexual abuse who exhibit pornographic material to the victim before the offense. (AB 25 by Assemblyman John Burton, D-San Francisco).

Chronic offenders--The option of a judge to grant probation is restricted in court cases of sex offenders who continue to sexually abuse children. (AB 2009 by Assemblywoman Margaret E. Snyder, D-Modesto).

Parks personnel--Local parks departments are prohibited from hiring people who have been convicted of sex offenses for jobs that involve supervising minors. (AB 1663 by Assemblywoman Grace F. Napolitano, D-Norwalk).

COURTS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT

Jurors' names--Judges are required to inform jurors in criminal cases that if they wish, their names will not be disclosed to the public. (AB 1915 by Assemblywoman Paula L. Boland, R-Granada Hills).

Pepper gas--Sale and possession of pepper gas for self-protection will be legalized as of March 1. (AB 581 by Assemblywoman Jackie Speier, D-Burlingame).

Sexual harassment--Law enforcement officers must take training courses on what constitutes sexual harassment and how to avoid it in their dealings with fellow officers and the public. (SB 459 by Sen. Daniel E. Boatwright, D-Concord).

Stalker lawsuits--Victims of stalkers can sue their pursuers for civil damages in addition to seeking criminal charges against them. (AB 1548 by Assemblywoman Dede Alpert, D-Coronado).

Spousal abuse--A person convicted of spousal abuse or stalking or of violating a related court restraining order is prohibited for 10 years from owning a firearm. (AB 242 by Assemblywoman Dede Alpert, D-Coronado).

Domestic violence--The state marriage license fee is increased from $19 to $23 to help finance domestic violence prevention programs. (SB 5 by Sen. Robert Presley, D-Riverside).

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