Press Coverage Story
Governor acts on flurry of bills
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Saturday signed 97 bills and vetoed another 58.
By AARON C. DAVIS, Associated Press
October 13, 2007
SACRAMENTO—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Saturday signed 97 bills and vetoed another 58, creating new laws on everything from the sale of kangaroo skin to protecting endangered condors while halting lawmakers efforts on dozens of other fronts, including giving college aid to illegal immigrants and requiring warning labels on cloned food.
Arguably his most controversial decision, Schwarzenegger signed a bill requiring semiautomatic handguns made and sold in the state to have technology to microstamp each bullet fired from the gun.
Supporters say the micro-stamping requirement, the first in the nation, will help police track down criminals.
Opponents, including the National Rifle Association, argued the technology is unreliable and could be used to implicate innocent people if criminals leave behind stamped cartridges from other guns at crime scenes.
In his signing message, Schwarzenegger said he understands the technology is not perfect, but hopes it would give police a new tool in solving violent crimes.
Under the gun bill, every semiautomatic handgun sold in California will have to "microstamp" each bullet cartridge in two locations whenever it is fired. The stamp would identify the gun's make, model and serial number. The law will take effect in 2010.
It does not affect revolvers, rifles or shotguns. It targets only semiautomatics, which the bill's author, Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, said are used in the majority of homicides committed with firearms.
Schwarzenegger's most high-profile veto blocked the so-called Dream Act, a bill that would have made illegal immigrant students who graduate from California high schools eligible for college aid.
The governor had vetoed similar legislation last year, but this year Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama drew attention to it, saying Schwarzenegger would compound the immigration problem if he vetoed it. Student groups also had rallied repeatedly on the steps of the Capitol and elsewhere around the state in recent weeks.
The measure was authored by Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles. Under current law, California already allows illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition if they've attended a California high school for at least three years and apply for legal status.
The governor's actions leave 153 bills remaining on his desk. He has until Sunday at midnight to sign or veto the remaining legislation. If he takes no action, the bills become law.
Schwarzenegger also signed bills on:
CONDORS—Hunters will be barred from using led-based ammunition in areas inhabited by endangered California condors, an area that encompasses most of the state's central coast.
Scientists consider lead poisoning a leading cause of death among the scavengers, which often feed on bullet-ridden carcasses of other animals.
There are only about 127 condors flying freely in the southwestern United States and about 70 of them are in California. Over a dozen deaths have been linked to lead poisoning. Opponents of the bill, said the alternative, copper bullets, may be no better for the birds.
Glenn Olson, executive director of Audubon California, praised the governor's decision. In a statement, he called the lead ban a creative solution allowing wildlife protection and hunting to coexist.
KANGAROO SKIN—California will end its unique ban on importing or selling kangaroo-skin products.
Schwarzenegger favors exotic-skin cowboy boots and owns snakeskin and alligator boots, but proponents said the bill was not about fashion products. Kangaroo leather is lighter than other leathers and is most often used in law enforcement gear and high-performance soccer cleats, although soccer megastar David Beckham is among those who have switched to synthetic leather.
The measure would continue the state's prohibition on products made from protected kangaroo species, but allow the use of leather from more plentiful species.
SEXUAL ORIENTATION—Schools will be barred from discriminating based on a student's sexual orientation and teachers and administrators will be required to enforce anti-bias laws to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender students. Some family values groups lobbied against the bills saying they would encourage teaching about homosexuality.
SPERM CLEANSING—Men with HIV will be allowed to donate sperm to a willing, HIV-free spouse or other recipient if the sperm has gone through a process to minimize infectiousness.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE—Victims of domestic violence will be allowed to ask judges to grant protective orders for their pets under a bill authored by Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica.
STUDENT VOTING—State colleges and universities will be required to try to boost voter participation by giving students the opportunity to register to vote when they sign up for classes.
TEEN TANNING—Parents must consent in person to teens using tanning salons in an effort to reduce the number of children exposed to the potentially dangerous ultraviolet light.
GIFT CERTIFICATES—Consumers can cash in unspent gift certificates worth less than $10. An estimated $8 billion in gift cards went unspent nationally in 2006.
BOTTLED WATER—Bottled water will have to come with labels revealing the source of the water beginning in 2009.
SCHOOL FOOD—Elementary and middle schools will have to remove food with artery-clogging trans fats from cafeteria menus and vending machines.
The governor also vetoed:
INTERROGATIONS—A bill that would have forced police investigators to record interrogations of suspects in homicides and violent felonies. Proponents said the measure would have eliminated disputes about what actually happened during interrogations.
In his veto message, Schwarzenegger said that while reducing the number of false confessions was a laudable goal, recording every interrogation would put unnecessary restrictions on officers. "I cannot support a measure that would deny law enforcement the flexibility necessary to interrogate suspects in homicide and violent felony cases when the need to do so is not clear," he wrote.
ABANDONED BABIES—Legislation that would have given new mothers up to 30 days to anonymously drop off unwanted babies at places such as fire stations and hospitals. The current law allows such drop-offs within 72 hours of birth. It was the second consecutive year Schwarzenegger vetoed the measure and he cited similar concerns, saying the law would put newborns in greater risk by keeping them in an unsafe environment longer.
IDENTITY THEFT—A bill that would have required stores responsible for data breaches to repay banks for the cost of replacing compromised credit and debit cards.