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LEGISLATIVE SESSION ENDS

A Look at Some of the Key Bills Passed

August 29, 2004

After a bill has been sent to the governor, he has 30 days to sign or veto it, or it automatically becomes law. On most bills, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not yet taken a position.

EDUCATION

School Spending

AB 825 by Assemblyman Marco Firebaugh (D-Los Angeles) would give school districts more flexibility in how they spend money. It would consolidate 22 programs into six large block grants.

One proposed block grant, for example, would combine funding for 10th-grade counseling, dropout prevention and programs for at-risk youths. School districts could decide how much of the block grant to spend on each program.

The bill's supporters included the California School Boards Assn., the Assn. of California School Administrators, the Los Angeles Unified School District and several other school systems. There was no organized opposition.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday September 01, 2004 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 2 inches; 69 words Type of Material: Correction
Homeowners associations -- An article in Sunday's Section A summarizing bills passed by the state Legislature listed two groups as supporting AB 2598, which would outlaw home foreclosures by homeowners associations against property owners who owe small sums. The California Assn. of Community Managers, termed the California Assn. of Managers in the article, opposes the bill, and the Executive Council of Homeowners does not have a position on it.

College Transfers

SB 1785 by Sen. Jack Scott (D-Altadena) would require officials to establish a standard curriculum for high-demand bachelor's degree programs to ease the way for transfers by community college students to California State University campuses.

Currently, the average community college transfer student earns more credits than necessary for a bachelor's degree.

The measure was strongly supported by Cal State administrators, but initially opposed by some Cal State and community college faculty.

University Fees

AB 2710 by Assembly members Carol Liu (D-La Canada Flintridge) and Manny Diaz (D-San Jose) would make fee increases more predictable for students at University of California and California State University campuses.

The measure calls for increases to be gradual and predictable and for hikes in undergraduate fees to be no more than 8% in a given academic year.

The bill was opposed by Cal State administrators, the California Department of Finance and some Republican lawmakers.

School Repairs

SB 6 by Sen. Dede Alpert (D-Coronado) would allow the state to divert $800 million of existing education funds to make emergency repairs at low-performing schools.

The money is a key part of a settlement negotiated between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's lawyers and the American Civil Liberties Union. The settlement ended a 4-year-old lawsuit that accused the state of denying low-income students adequate school resources.

The bill was supported by Schwarzenegger, the ACLU, the California School Boards Assn., the Los Angeles Unified School District and other school systems. There was no formal opposition.

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ENVIRONMENT

Cruise Ship Dumping

AB 2672 by Assemblyman Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) would bar cruise ships from releasing raw sewage into California waters.

The legislation would affect hundreds of ships that dock in the state every year. California ports saw roughly 650,000 passengers in 2001, making the state the second-largest cruise ship destination in the country.

To implement the law, the state would have to obtain permission from the federal government.

The measure, sponsored by the environmental group Bluewater Network, was supported by the California Coastal Commission. It was opposed by the International Council of Cruise Lines.

Cellphone Recycling

AB 2901 by Assemblywoman Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) would require all sellers of cellular phones to allow consumers to turn in old models for recycling at their stores starting July 2006.

Mobile phones contain a number of toxic substances. Of the 175 million in use, officials estimate that only 5% will be reused or recycled. Officials estimate that, as of July 2006, about 16 million cellphones will be discarded annually in California.

The measure, sponsored by the environmental group Californians Against Waste, was supported by the League of California Cities and a number of trash haulers. It was opposed by the Electronic Industries Alliance, an industry trade group, and Sony Ericsson Mobile.

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GOVERNMENT

Primary Elections

SB 1730 by Sen. Ross Johnson (R-Irvine) would change the date of primary elections from March back to June.

In 1996, the primaries were advanced to March in hopes that the state would gain clout in the presidential nominating process. Other states moved their primaries to even earlier dates, and voter turnouts in California declined.

There was no organized opposition to the bill.

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LAW ENFORCEMENT

.50-Caliber Rifles

AB 50 by Assemblyman Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood) would make it illegal after Jan. 1 to manufacture, sell, distribute, import or possess a .50-caliber rifle in California without a permit. Those who already possessed such rifles before Jan. 1 would be able to register them. The bill provides an exemption for law enforcement.

Large-caliber rifles allow a shooter to hit targets at great distance and penetrate armor at a shorter distance. Los Angeles already bans the sale of such rifles because of those qualities.

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