YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Key Bills by Delegation Become Law : Legislature: Area Republicans focus on crime and business. Democrats also score successes.


SACRAMENTO — The surge of crime-busting sentiment that capped the final year of the 1993-94 legislative session created a political climate more favorable than usual to Ventura County's Republican lawmakers.

It was a year of whipping criminals and the economy into shape. And, with Gov. Pete Wilson's reelection hopes setting the agenda, the county's Republican legislators succeeded in getting a number of anti-crime and pro-business bills signed into law.

The normally low-profile Assemblywoman Paula Boland (R-Granada Hills), for instance, prospered with topical bills addressing the needs of victims of rape, sexual molestation and other crimes.

Assemblyman Nao Takasugi (R-Oxnard), an advocate for the business community, got a boost in his first term as a result of the emphasis on California's economic recovery. State Sen. Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley) succeeded in getting nearly every one of her bills signed to reduce the burden of hazardous waste regulations on business.

Ventura County Democrats did score some key successes. After years of trying, Assemblyman Jack O'Connell (D-Carpinteria) won the Republican governor's signature on a bill to protect the coastline from new offshore oil drilling.

And state Sen. Gary Hart (D-Santa Barbara) won support and Wilson's signature for legislation disarming domestic violence offenders and students who carry guns to school. But he lost on some critical educational issues that he had supported for years.

Hart--with 20 years' experience in the Capitol, the most veteran member of the county's delegation--expressed a measure of discontent with the two-year session.

"I don't think this session of the Legislature measures up," Hart said, noting his setbacks in education funding, classroom testing and education reform. "It was a bit of a disappointment in comparison to other years."

From the other side of the aisle, however, Takasugi voiced a more favorable impression.

"I felt good about having a part in getting legislation passed to help businesses," he said, citing in particular reform of the workers' compensation system.

Here is a glance at some of the highlights of the 1993-94 legislative session for each delegation member:

Paula Boland


In her role as vice chairwoman of the Assembly Public Safety Committee, Boland takes credit for helping win votes for some tough-on-crime bills such as the one-strike and three-strikes sentencing measures in the governor's package.

The bills she successfully authored and got signed into law include one forbidding prison inmates from changing their names, another requiring disclosure of HIV test results to rape victims, and another expanding the statute of limitations for child molestation cases.

She also stepped in with a new law to protect the privacy of jurors--after information published about jurors in the Simi Valley trial of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King resulted in the harassment of some panel members.

Boland said she also considers crucial her new law giving federal peace officers the authority to step in during a state of emergency to serve alongside local law enforcement personnel.

Boland also strongly touts the pro-business philosophy of her party leaders. In a ranking of state legislators, the California Chamber of Commerce gave her a perfect score for casting votes on its side--the only 100% rating given to a county lawmaker.

"What we have to realize is that business means jobs. And jobs mean Mom and Dad are working," Boland said. "That means a healthy environment for the family, and a healthy economy."

Of the 47 bills Boland introduced in the two-year session, 15 were signed into law.

Jack O'Connell


In obtaining the governor's signature for the California Coastal Sanctuary Act, O'Connell played up the kinds of benefits that Wilson likes: "It's designed to help our fishing industry and tourist industry--and protect our coastline," O'Connell says.

The new law forbids any new drilling projects within state waters that stretch three miles out to sea, along the entire 1,100-mile California coastline.

O'Connell also wrote a new law to rid the legal code of outmoded 19th-Century statutes. His bill to require elder care and adult care workers to undergo background checks was signed into law, and so was a bill requiring Caltrans to post signs citing local points of interest.

O'Connell set up a new California Strawberry Commission, but lost on an issue that appealed to those trying to re-establish the California condor in Ventura County: Wilson vetoed a bill requiring makers of antifreeze and coolant to add bittering agents to their products, thus making the syrupy liquids unpalatable to animals in the wild.

For O'Connell, the most disappointing veto, however, was of a bill to expand funding for community colleges.

Los Angeles Times Articles