Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-San Bernardino) says measure SB 1476, that… (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles…)
SACRAMENTO — State lawmakers sent to the governor Monday a bill that would exempt drug users from prosecution if they seek medical help.
Lawmakers from both parties said the measure was necessary to curb what studies show is a rise of overdose deaths in California. Drug users often do not seek help for fear of prosecution, they contended.
The proposal by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) stipulates that it is not a crime to be high or possess illegal drugs or paraphernalia when seeking medical assistance.
"I'd rather have my kid around to yell at than to attend his funeral," Ammiano said.
The bill, AB 472, was among nearly 180 measures acted on Monday as lawmakers entered the final week of their session.
Lawmakers also gave final approval to legislation that would require athletic coaches, administrators and directors to report child abuse to authorities. AB 1435, by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento), was spurred by the Penn State sexual abuse scandal.
A bid to permit voter registration on election day, AB 1436 by Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles), also went to the governor. So did a bill that would ban the use of dogs in hunting bears and bobcats, SB 1221 by state Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance).
Lawmakers passed other bills that still await approval of mostly minor amendments. One would authorize courts to recognize that a child may have more than two legal parents.
State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) said his measure, SB 1476, sponsored by child advocates and gay rights groups, could prevent children from being placed in foster care.
Some Republicans said the bill was an attack on traditional marriage.
"We will do anything in this body to get away from defining marriage between a man and a woman," said Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-San Bernardino). "This bill is trying to completely redefine the natural order of things."
Another measure with mostly minor amendments pending would ban the open carrying of shotguns and rifles in California cities. Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) is the author of AB 1527.
SB 1052, by state Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), would create a website where students could read textbooks from the 50 most popular classes in the state's public university systems for free.