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Skaters' Helmet Bill Signed

September 13, 2002|From a Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — Skateboarders, in-line skaters and scooter operators younger than 18 must wear safety helmets beginning Jan. 1 or face a $25 fine under a bill signed Thursday by Gov. Gray Davis.

The measure, SB 1924, by Sen. Jack O'Connell, a Democratic candidate for state schools superintendent from San Luis Obispo, will subject offenders to the same fine that has been levied for years against young bicyclists who do not wear safety headgear.

The bill was suggested by students at Hawthorne Elementary School in San Luis Obispo after a classmate died in a scooter crash. O'Connell called it a common sense plan to prevent head injuries.

Several other states, including New York and New Jersey, have similar laws.

The governor also signed these bills Thursday:

* Gangs--SB 1416 by Sen. Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles) extends until June 2008 the life of the Soledad Enrichment Action charter schools in Los Angeles County, which teach former gang members and youngsters who are at risk of quitting school and turning to crime. Approximately 730 students attend the schools. The measure also will repeal the schools' special accountability requirements and replace them with standards that apply to other schools.

* Amber alert--AB 415 by Assemblyman George Runner Jr. (R-Lancaster) writes into law the Amber alert system for recovery of children who are abducted and in imminent danger of harm. The statewide system has already played an important role in recent kidnapping cases, although it was operated voluntarily by law enforcement agencies, various other government departments and broadcasters. The governor's signature gives it the force of law.

* Tax filing--AB 1036 by Assemblyman Jerome Horton (D-Inglewood) expands the authority of the state Board of Equalization to accept the filing of certain business tax returns via the Internet. These will include returns under the cigarette and tobacco products tax, emergency telephone users surcharge, hazardous substance tax and others.

* Teaching credentials--SB 1656 by Sen. Jack Scott (D-Altadena) amends current law to make it clear that the California Teacher Credentialing Commission is empowered to deny or suspend the teaching credential of anyone who registers as a sex offender under the laws of other states or the federal government.

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