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California and the West

Overtime Exemptions for Some Software Staff OKd

Capitol: Davis signs bill pushed by Silicon Valley companies, and enacts measures cracking down on the crime of stalking.


SACRAMENTO — Granting Silicon Valley one of its most sought-after breaks this year, Gov. Gray Davis signed legislation Wednesday that will exempt certain computer industry workers from the state's mandatory overtime law.

Under California law, most workers are entitled to time-and-a-half pay if they put in more than 40 hours a week, and double pay if they work more than 12 hours a day.

Software company executives complained that the so-called premium overtime for long days was taking a toll on their industry, which employs scores of highly paid computer programmers.

The bill, SB 88 by Sen. Byron Sher (D-Stanford), applies only to computer software employees making more than $41 an hour who are engaged in work deemed creative and intellectual. It also applies to some nurses, and takes effect immediately.

The Democratic governor also signed a series of measures taking a much tougher stance on the crime of stalking. One bill, SB 580 by Sen. John Lewis (R-Orange), requires authorities to notify victims of stalking or felony domestic abuse any time their assailant moves or has a change in parole status. Another bill, SB 1318 by Sen. Dede Alpert (D-Coronado) allows stalking victims to keep their addresses confidential.

"These new laws ensure that stalking is treated as a serious crime and will not be tolerated in California," Davis said in a statement. "Stalking often escalates into violence, and victims deserve these new protections to ensure their safety."

In addition, Davis vetoed a spate of bills. They included a measure, SB 2043 by Sen. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), that would have simplified the process used by children to terminate parental rights, and a measure by Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) that would have required counties to offer couples "fact sheets" on the responsibilities and consequences of marriage along with marriage certificates.

Davis seemed especially troubled by the marriage bill, AB 1920, denouncing it in a particularly blunt veto message.

"The day that two people are married should be one of the happiest days of their lives," his message stated. "I believe it is presumptuous and in very bad taste to require the county clerk, on the eve of someone's marriage, to offer a couple a document detailing all the problems and costs."

Davis also signed the following bills:

Bond measures--On the heels of a Los Angeles public safety bond that promised a police station for the San Fernando Valley but never delivered, the bill says all local bond measures on the ballot must specify how the money will be spent and requires annual reports on how it was spent. SB 165 by Sen. Richard Alarcon (D-Sylmar).

Growth control--Allows cities or counties to refer proposed growth-control initiatives to any agency for a report on such issues as their effect on the ability of the city or county to meet housing needs or attract business. SB 1966 by Sen. Jim Brulte (R-Rancho Cucamonga).

Lead poisoning--Provides $1.5 million in state money, which will be combined with $317,000 in federal funds, for lead poisoning tests for children. AB 1730 by Assemblyman Tony Cardenas (D-Sylmar).

Parking placards--A response to last year's UCLA football handicapped parking scandal, the bill stiffens penalties to require a minimum $250 fine and revises the application process for disabled placards. AB 1792 by Assemblyman Antonio Villaraigosa (D-Los Angeles).

Sex offenders--Requires the state Board of Prison Terms and the Department of Corrections to notify local authorities when a sex offender's parole is revoked. AB 1302 by Assemblywoman Helen Thomson (D-Davis.)

The governor vetoed the following bills:

Credit cards--Would have required state universities to adopt tough new standards for allowing marketing of credit cards to students on campus. In his veto message, Davis said most state colleges and universities already restrict the marketing of credit cards on campus and added that "personal responsibility can not be mandated by government. The answer lies first and foremost with parental guidance." SB 796 by Sen. Joe Dunn (D-Santa Ana).

Sex change--Would have allowed a person born in California who obtained a sex change operation to petition for a new birth certificate. Davis said in his veto message that people who obtain sex changes can already legally change their names and obtain new driver's licenses and passports. AB 1851 by Assemblyman John Longville (D-Rialto).

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