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California

Bills signed into law by Gov. Davis

October 13, 2003

The following bills were signed into law by Gov. Gray Davis during the first half of the 2003-04 legislative session. Unless specified otherwise, the laws take effect in January.

Business

Workers' compensation -- A package of bills aims to pare at least $4 billion in costs from the state's $29-billion system for insuring employees against on-the-job injuries. The bills cap some medical payments and limit visits to physical therapists and chiropractors. The bills are SB 228 by Sen. Richard Alarcon (D-Sylmar), AB 227 by Assemblyman Juan Vargas (D-San Diego), AB 1099 by Assemblywoman Gloria Negrete-McLeod (D-Chino) and AB 1262 by Assemblywoman Barbara Matthews (D-Tracy).

Internet sales tax -- SB 157 by Sen. Debra Bowen (D-Marina del Rey) allows California to join 38 other states trying to draft national rules for taxing goods sold over the Internet.

False statements -- SB 523 by Sen. Martha Escutia (D-Whittier) requires corporations to alert authorities when corporate officers make false or misleading statements or face fines of up to $1 million.

Whistleblowers -- SB 777 by Sen. Martha Escutia (D-Whittier) sets up a corporate whistleblower hotline with the attorney general and bans employers from retaliating against workers who refuse to break state or federal laws.

Securities fraud -- AB 1031 by Assemblyman Lou Correa (D-Anaheim) boosts criminal penalties for market manipulation, stock fraud and insider trading.

Expatriate companies -- SB 640 by Sen. John Burton (D-San Francisco) bans the state from contracting with a U.S. corporation that has reincorporated in a foreign country to avoid taxes.

Tax shelters -- AB 1601 by Assemblyman Dario Frommer (D-Los Feliz) boosts penalties for illegal tax shelters and doubles the time to eight years that the state has to investigate such tax-dodging financial schemes.

Consumers

Cellular phones -- AB 1379 by Assemblyman Ronald S. Calderon (D-Montebello) requires cellular phone companies to give customers access to information about roaming usage and charges. The law takes effect in January 2005.

Debt collectors -- SB 1022 by Sen. Don Perata (D-Alameda) requires third-party debt collectors to give consumers a list of their rights under state and federal laws, such as no contact before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. The law takes effect in July.

Auto sales -- SB 508 by Sen. Martha Escutia (D-Whittier) requires auto dealers to keep copies of sales contracts for at least seven years. The law is designed to help the attorney general investigate allegations of minorities being charged excessive interest rates.

Phone bills -- AB 909 by Assemblywoman Sarah Reyes (D-Fresno) requires phone companies that provide both local and long-distance service to itemize each toll and long-distance call on customers' bills.

Crime

Rape evidence -- AB 898 by Assemblywoman Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) requires law enforcement agencies to notify sexual assault victims if they intend to destroy or not analyze DNA evidence within the statute of limitations.

Schools -- SB 356 by Sen. Dede Alpert (D-Coronado) allows school district police departments to access the state's database of sex offenders and disclose relevant information on school campuses.

Rape drugs -- AB 506 by Assemblyman Bill Maze (R-Visalia) allows sexual assault victims to provide a blood and urine sample, without risk of prosecution, to determine if the assailant used drugs or alcohol in connection with the attack.

Child pornographers -- SB 879 by Sen. Bob Margett (R-Arcadia) requires a person convicted of sending, producing or possessing child pornography to register as a sex offender.

Physicians -- AB 236 by Assemblyman Rudy Bermudez (D-Norwalk) bans registered sex offenders from being licensed as a doctor.

Domestic violence -- AB 352 by Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg (D-Los Angeles) doubles to $400 the minimum fine for domestic violence perpetrators on court probation.

Airport security -- AB 1263 by Assemblyman John Benoit (R-Palm Desert) makes it a crime punishable by up six months in jail to intentionally enter an airport's security zone without having gone through the security check.

Sex offenders -- AB 1098 by Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia (R-Cathedral City) requires convicted sex offenders to prove to their parole officers that they have registered with local law enforcement within six days of their release from prison.

Battered women -- SB 784 by Sen. Betty Karnette (D-Long Beach) allows victims of domestic violence who were convicted of homicide before Jan. 1, 1992, to petition courts for reconsideration of their case until Jan. 1, 2010.

Schools -- AB 1495 by Assemblyman Ed Chavez (D-La Puente) bans parolees convicted of certain sex crimes involving children from living within a quarter-mile of public or private schools serving children from kindergarten through eighth grade.

Megan's Law -- AB 1313 by Assemblywoman Nicole Parra (D-Hanford) extends until 2007 the law that gives the public access to California's database of registered sex offenders.

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