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California Laws 2002

January 01, 2002


Pierce's disease--Starting in July, grape growers will be assessed up to $3 per $1,000 of value to fund research into fighting Pierce's disease and the bug that has recently turned it into an agricultural menace, the glassy-winged sharpshooter. (AB 1394 by Patricia Wiggins, D-Santa Rosa)


Abandoned pets--Visitors and new arrivals to California will be greeted at entry points by highway signs that warn it is against the law to abandon pets, and that violators can be fined $1,000, sent to jail for six months, or both. (SB 237 by Ed Vincent, D-Inglewood)

Animal officers--Animal control officers can arm themselves with a wooden club or baton, provided they have passed a course of instruction. Some animal control officers carry firearms. Supporters of the bill say a baton would give officers an "intermediate" weapon for self-defense. (AB 1023 by Joe Canciamilla, D-Pittsburg)

Animal research--Animal shelters must post signs and notify owners on surrender forms that the animals they plan to give up may be used for research or to supply blood or tissue to veterinarians. (SB 338 by Ed Vincent, D-Inglewood)

Dog attacks--Dog breeders must "socialize" their animals with humans. Socialization is not spelled out, but supporters indicated humans must play with canines before they are sold. A violation is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000. (AB 161 by Ken Maddox, R-Garden Grove)

Guard dogs--Owners of guard-dog businesses have to obtain permits from animal control agencies, and must maintain a register of all people to whom the animals are sold. (SB 769 by Liz Figueroa, D-Fremont)

Cars and Drivers

Distracted drivers--State and local traffic police will report driver distractions that are known or suspected to play a part in crashes, including cell phones and children. The information will be analyzed by the California Highway Patrol, which may make recommendations for new laws. (AB 770 by George Nakano, D-Torrance)

Driver records--County psychiatric social workers and trial court employees can have all information on their Department of Motor Vehicles records suppressed, except for law enforcement purposes. Stalking victims threatened with death or bodily injury already can have their DMV records made confidential. (AB 84 by Bob Hertzberg, D-Sherman Oaks)

Impounded cars--Vehicle storage operators must publish a 24-hour telephone number that owners can call for information on retrieving their impounded vehicles and their right to challenge the impoundment. (AB 360 by Herb Wesson, D-Culver City)

Memorial signs--Family members can erect roadside signs in memory of victims of a drunk or drugged driver. The signs will bear the victim's name and the message, "Please don't drink and drive." The state Department of Transportation will establish fees and impose terms and conditions on the signs. (AB 965 by Dennis Mountjoy, R-Monrovia)

Stoplights--Red-light cameras must be programmed to ensure the minimum yellow light change intervals meet standards of the Department of Transportation. Advocates of the legislation contend that drivers have been unfairly ticketed because the yellow-to-red light changes are too fast. (SB 667 by Steve Peace, D-El Cajon)

Civil Rights

Disabled parking--The Department of Motor Vehicles no longer can charge a fee for placards allowing disabled people to park in preferred spots. The color of the placards will change every two years to reduce fraud. (AB 677 by Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento)

English at work--Employers cannot require only English to be spoken in the workplace unless they can justify a business reason for doing so. (AB 800 by Herb Wesson, D-Culver City)

School athletics--The California Interscholastic Federation, which helps run competitive sports in the state, cannot discriminate against student athletes based on religion, sexual orientation or mental capacity. Students can file complaints against school districts or the CIF directly with the state Department of Education. (SB 225 by Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica)

Consumer Issues

College credit cards--California state universities and community colleges must regulate the marketing practices of credit card companies on their campuses. (AB 521 by Paul Koretz, D-West Hollywood)

Identity theft--At the request of a consumer, credit reporting agencies must post a "security alert" in the consumer's credit report warning that the consumer's identity may have been stolen and used fraudulently. (SB 168 by Debra Bowen, D-Marina del Rey)

Predatory lending--Home lenders must curb a variety of practices considered predatory, including making loans without considering the borrower's ability to pay them back. (AB 489 by Carole Migden, D-San Francisco)

Telemarketing--By Jan. 1, 2003, the state Department of Justice must establish a "do not call" list of Californians who do not want to receive unsolicited pitches from telemarketers. Violators will be subject to a $1,500 fine per call. (SB 771 by Liz Figueroa, D-Fremont)

Crime and Punishment

CHP age

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