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California Senate OKs protections for kids of police, public officials

May 24, 2013|By Patrick McGreevy
  • A digital billboard along Santa Monica Boulevard on the west side of Los Angeles shows a "wanted" alert for former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner in February.
A digital billboard along Santa Monica Boulevard on the west side of Los… (Reed Saxon / Associated…)

The state Senate approved legislation Friday that would make it a crime to harass or secretly photograph the children of police officers, judges and other public officials because of their occupation.

The measure requires those convicted serve 10 days to one year in jail. State Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) introduced the measure in response to a killing spree in February by former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner, whose victims included the adult daughter of a former LAPD captain.

De Leon said a manifesto left by Dorner before his suicide named 50 potential targets, including law enforcement officers and their families.

As a result, six foster children of LAPD Captain Phil Tingirides, who served on the board that recommended Dorner's termination from the LAPD, had to be placed under round-the-clock police protection during the manhunt.

SB 606 was supported by the California State Sheriffs' Assn. “Unfortunately, children of law enforcement officers have been targeted for harassment and threats of violence due to the employment of their parents,” the group said in a statement.

The measure was opposed by the Motion Picture Assn. of America, which said it conflicts with free speech rights and puts anyone who takes film or photographs of the public in jeopardy of violating the law by photographing children who fall under the protections.

The state Senate also voted Friday to subject electronic cigarettes to the same restrictions on public use that apply to regular cigarettes, which are banned from use in restaurants, bars, theaters and other public buildings. E-cigarettes deliver nicotine to the user in a vapor without sending up smoke.

Sen. Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) said she introduced SB 648 because electronic cigarettes “pose unknown health risks in a public space.”

The measure was approved on a 24-10 vote, with some Republicans opposed. 

Sen. Joel Anderson (R-San Diego) noted that government agencies spend billions of dollars to get people to quit smoking, and the electronic cigarette has helped in that cause. “This has changed their life,” Anderson said. “It has gotten them off the cigarettes. While it may not be perfect, it’s a big step in the right direction.”

Although e-cigarettes do not produce smoke that would go into the air, Corbett said the restrictions are justified.

“We must always stand on the side of public health since we still do not yet fully understand the safety of chemicals present in e-cigarette vapors or when nicotine itself leaks from the products,” she said.


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