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CALIFORNIA LAWS ’91

Compiled by JERRY GILLAM, Times Staff Writer

There’s good news for Californians who are concerned about increased air pollution from smoky cars, trucks and buses or those griping about the aerial spraying of malathion. There’s bad news for convicted highway litterbugs and companies that sell telephone fax numbers to merchants and advertisers without the owner’s permission. Taking effect Tuesday are many of the 1,696 bills passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. George Deukmejian during 1990. Others took effect immediately after being signed. Here’s a sampling:

TRANSPORTATION

Reckless Driving--Those convicted of speeding and reckless driving who also are found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs face additional 60-day jail terms. (AB 3289 by Assemblyman Terry B. Friedman, D-Los Angeles.)

Motorcycles--People under 21 must satisfactorily complete a motorcycle safety training course before obtaining a license to drive one. (AB 55 by Assemblywoman Bev Hansen, R-Santa Rosa.)

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Driver’s Licenses--Those convicted of making and selling phony driver’s licenses face stiffer fines and longer jail terms. (AB 2718 by Assemblyman Gerald N. Felando, R-San Pedro.)

Exhaust Fumes--Fines are increased for smoky trucks, buses and automobiles that spew excessive visible exhaust fumes into the atmosphere. (AB 911 by Assemblyman Richard Katz, D-Sylmar.)

More Exhaust Fumes--Diesel truck and bus exhaust fumes will have to be discharged overhead instead of at street level, starting Jan. 1, 1993. (AB 3097 by Assemblyman Tim Leslie, R-Carmichael.)

High-Speed Rail--The state will study the feasibility of building a high-speed rail network that would link Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. (SB 1307 by former Sen. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove.)

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Night Train--Caltrans must negotiate with Amtrak to speed up the establishment of overnight rail service from Los Angeles to Sacramento via San Francisco. (AB 3671 by Assemblywoman Delaine Eastin, D-Union City.)

Litter--In addition to mandatory fines, those convicted of littering are required to serve 8 to 24 hours picking up litter or cleaning graffiti. (AB 4229 by Assemblyman Charles W. Quackenbush, R-Saratoga.)

CONSUMERS

Credit Cards--Merchants are prohibited from requiring customers’ home addresses or telephone numbers on the front of credit card slips. This information is sometimes sold to other firms. (AB 2920 by Assemblyman Rusty Areias, D-Los Banos.)

Credit ID--Merchants are prohibited from requiring customers to present a credit card for identification when paying by check. (AB 2880 by Assemblyman Rusty Areias, D-Los Banos.)

Small Claims--The jurisdiction of small claims court, limited to awarding damages of $2,500, is extended to cases involving awards up to $5,000. (AB 3916 by Assemblyman Ted Lempert, D-San Mateo.)

State Offices--State offices that provide over-the-counter information and services to the public are required to remain open during the lunch hour on normal workdays. (AB 3167 by Assemblywoman Jackie Speier, D-South San Francisco.)

Credit Reports--Consumers can seek up to $2,500 in civil damages for the illegal use of information contained in credit reports. (AB 2908 by Assemblyman Steve Peace, D-La Mesa.)

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Refunds and Exchanges--Retailers who do not permit refunds or exchanges are required to disclose their policies to consumers before goods are purchased. (AB 3047 by Assemblywoman Carol Bentley, R-El Cajon.)

Contract Copies--Merchants are required to give customers a copy of a sales contract at the time it is signed or within 10 days if the transaction takes place by mail. (SB 1107 by Sen. Quentin L. Kopp, I-San Francisco.)

Fax Numbers--Companies that market telephone fax numbers to advertisers and merchants must first obtain the owner’s permission. (SB 1807 by Sen. Quentin L. Kopp, I-San Francisco.)

Hearing Aids--The sale of hearing aids by catalogue or through the mail by unlicensed distributors is prohibited. (SB 1916 by Sen. Herschel Rosenthal, D-Los Angeles.)

Phone Harassment--Misdemeanor provisions are tightened against those who repeatedly make telephone calls to a residence with the intent of harassing or annoying the person called. (AB 3437 by Assemblywoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles.)

Lead--The state will spot check for unsafe lead levels before chinaware can be sold to the public. (AB 3659 by Assemblyman Lloyd G. Connelly, D-Sacramento.)

Garage Doors--New state safety standards take effect to prevent accidental injury or death from automatic garage door openers. (AB 3600 by Assemblyman Richard Polanco, D-Los Angeles.)

Advertising--Manufacturers must be able to prove advertising claims that use such pro-environmental terms such as “biodegradable . . . recyclable . . . or ozone friendly.” (AB 3994 by Assemblyman Byron D. Sher, D-Palo Alto.)

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FOOD & AGRICULTURE

Malathion Spraying--The state Department of Health Services will conduct a long-term public health study on the effects of malathion aerial spraying used commonly to eradicate the Medfly. (AB 4209 by Assemblywoman Doris Allen, R-Cypress.)

Pesticides--A University of California research center will be established to search for alternatives to malathion and other agricultural chemicals in common use. (AB 4161 by Assemblyman Richard Katz, D-Sylmar.)

CHILDREN

Foster Parents--The state is allowed to conduct a full criminal records check of foster parents who seek to adopt a foster child. (AB 3373 by Assemblyman Tim Leslie, R-Carmichael.)

Poisonings--Manufacturers of highly toxic household products sold in California are required to include either a bitter-tasting agent or a childproof cap to help reduce accidental poisonings. (AB 4160 by Assemblyman Richard Katz, D-Sylmar.)

Youth Suicides--The state Department of Mental Health will maintain and evaluate a youth suicide prevention program. (AB 3328 by Assemblyman Tom Bates, D-Oakland.)

Video Games--Paid advertisements for alcoholic beverages or tobacco products are prohibited in video games likely to be played by youths under the age of 18. (AB 3280 by Assemblywoman Sally Tanner, D-Baldwin Park.)

Baby Thefts--Hospitals are required to improve security procedures to help reduce baby thefts from maternity wards. (AB 4071 by Assemblyman Lloyd G. Connelly, D-Sacramento.)

CRIME

Guns--The 15-day waiting period and buyer’s background check required before the purchase of handguns is extended to the purchase of rifles and shotguns. (AB 497 by Assemblyman Lloyd G. Connelly, D-Sacramento.)

Semiautomatic Weapons--The manufacture, sale or possession of devices that allow semiautomatic weapons to fire several bullets with one pull of the trigger is prohibited. (AB 376 by Assemblyman Johan Klehs, D-Castro Valley.)

Stalking--A new crime is established, called stalking, for those who maliciously follow or disturb the peace of another person with the intent of instilling fear of death or serious injury. (SB 2184 by Sen. Edward R. Royce, R-Anaheim.)

Early Parole--Work time and good behavior credits that could lead to early parole will be denied for three-time convicted violent offenders. (SB 1720 by Sen. Robert Presley, D-Riverside.)

Parole Hearings--The interval between parole hearings for murderers given life sentences, such as Charles Manson, is increased from three to five years. The intent is to reduce the emotional strain on survivors of victims who regularly appear to oppose early release. (SB 2516 by Sen. Robert Presley, D-Riverside.)

Domestic Violence--Firearm sales are prohibited to people who are under court restraining orders for incidents of domestic violence. (AB 1753 by Assemblyman Terry B. Friedman, D-Los Angeles.)

False Reports--Penalties are stiffened for police officers who file false reports with their superior officers. The law was passed after Mark Dickey, a white Long Beach police officer, was shown on video tape pushing Don Jackson, a black activist, through a plate glass window and was charged with reporting the incident inaccurately. (SB 2681 by Sen. Daniel E. Boatwright, D-Concord.)

Automatic Tellers--Banks are required to provide adequate lighting and other safety features for automatic teller machines as a deterrent to crime. (AB 244 by Sen. Charles M. Calderon, D-Whittier.)

Judges--People convicted of using an explosive device or arson fire to terrorize a judge face tougher prison sentences. (SB 2023 by Sen. Gary K. Hart, D-Santa Barbara.)

Police Scholarships--A state study will consider the establishment of a college scholarship program as a way to encourage recruitment of police officers. (AB 1720 by Assemblyman Tom Hayden, D-Santa Monica.)

Religious Services--Those convicted of disturbing a religious service face mandatory community service in addition to existing fines and jail time. (SB 2483 by Sen. Newton R. Russell, R-Glendale.)

Cordless Telephones--It becomes a crime to intentionally intercept calls made on cordless telephones, as it is now illegal to intercept calls on regular and cellular telephones. (AB 3457 by Assemblywoman Gwen Moore, D-Los Angeles.)

Judges--To help reduce court backlogs, retired judges are permitted to work up to 70 days a year without losing their pension benefits. (AB 2874 by Assemblyman Curtis Tucker Jr., D-Inglewood.)

Police Training--Local law enforcement officers are required to take racial and cultural sensitivity training classes. (SB 2680 by Sen. Daniel E. Boatwright, D-Concord.)

Hate Crimes--Victims of alleged hate violence can sue for monetary damages from public and private groups that violate their civil rights. (AB 2683 by Assemblyman Richard E. Floyd, D-Carson.)

Restitution--The state may seize wages of people convicted of crimes if the criminals fail to make court-ordered restitution for a victim’s monetary losses. (AB 1893 by Assemblyman Rusty Areias, D-Los Banos.)

Stolen Cars--Penalties are increased for the possession or sale of automobiles with defaced or altered serial numbers. (AB 3483 by Assemblyman Bob Epple, D-Norwalk.)

Driver’s Licenses--The courts can suspend, restrict, or delay for one year the driving privileges of young people who mix substance abuse and driving. The law applies to those under 21 and over 13 years who are convicted of drug or alcohol offenses committed while operating a motor vehicle or boat. (SB 1756 by Sen. Bill Lockyer, D-Hayward.)

Witnesses--There are tougher penalties for people convicted of threatening to use force or violence against a witness who could testify against them. (AB 1265 by Assemblyman Dennis Brown, R-Los Alamitos.)

More Guns--The Department of Mental Health will maintain a file of those barred from possessing guns because of mental disabilities. The Department of Justice must check the file when determining eligibility of those applying to buy firearms. (SB 2050 by Sen. Barry Keene, D-Benicia.)

SCHOOLS

School Needs--Several hundred California schools with kindergarten through grade 12 will develop their own educational programs under a pilot program intended to cut state red tape in a number of districts, to be determined by the state superintendent of public instruction. (SB 1274 by Sen. Gary K. Hart, D-Santa Barbara.)

Gangs and Drugs--A model school curriculum will be developed to help second-, fourth- and sixth-graders resist joining street gangs and using drugs. (AB 1716 by Assemblyman Pat Nolan, R-Glendale.)

Drugs and Pregnancy--High schools are required to teach the adverse effects of drugs and alcohol on pregnancy. (AB 2822 by Assemblyman Paul A. Woodruff, R-Yucaipa.)

COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES

Campus Crime--Higher education institutions are required to make campus crime statistics available to applicants, students and employees. (AB 3918 by Assemblyman Pat Nolan, R-Glendale.)

Rape--Public and private colleges and universities are required to provide counseling and treatment to rape victims among its students, staff and faculty. (AB 3098 by Assemblywoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles.)

Campus Lighting--To improve nighttime security, the state architect will adopt standards for the lighting of college campus parking lots and walkways. SB 1912 by Sen. Marian Bergeson, R-Newport Beach.)

Disabled Parking--The University of California, state universities and community colleges are requested to provide more parking for disabled students and visitors. (AB 2625 by Assemblyman Richard Katz, D-Sylmar.)

HOUSING

Low-Income Units--In approving housing developments, cities and counties are required to ensure that at least 20% of new units are rated affordable to low- and moderate-income families. (SB 2011 by Sen. Leroy Greene, D-Carmichael.)

Appraisers--The state will begin licensing and certifying real estate appraisers who deal in federally related home and business loans, starting July 1. (AB 527 by Assemblyman Thomas M. Hannigan, D-Fairfield.)

Mobile Home Parks--Park owners are required to give residents at least 30 days notice of their intent to sell so tenants can bid on the purchase. (AB 2944 by Assemblyman Steve Clute, D-Riverside.)

HEALTH

Doctor Discipline--Tougher disciplinary action is in store for medical doctors found to be incompetent or unethical. (SB 2375 by Sen. Robert Presley, D-Riverside.)

Hospitals--Hospital emergency wards are required to provide interpreters or bilingual professional staff to serve patients with limited English proficiency or for those who are deaf. (SB 1840 by Sen. Quentin L. Kopp, I-San Francisco.)

Vocational Nurses--Licensed vocational nurses face minimum 12th-grade educational requirements, up from 10th grade. (AB 3306 by Assemblyman William H. Lancaster, R-Covina.)

Organic Foods--Tighter regulation of the fast-growing organic food industry will be implemented by the state Department of Food and Agriculture. (AB 2012 by Assemblyman Sam Farr, D-Carmel.)

Prostate Cancer--Doctors must provide prostate cancer patients a state-prepared brochure outlining all of the treatment options. (AB 3487 by Assemblyman John Burton, D-San Francisco.)

WOMEN

Date Rape--A current or previous dating relationship is not deemed sufficient to constitute consent as a defense in sex offense cases where consent is an issue. (AB 2631 by Assemblywoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles.)

Pap Smears--Health insurance plans are required to include coverage for annual Pap smear tests that are used to detect cervical cancer in women. (AB 2542 by Assemblywoman Sally Tanner, D-Baldwin Park.)

Laboratories--State-licensed laboratories that do Pap smears will be inspected at least once every two years. (AB 4352 by Assemblywoman Sally Tanner, D-Baldwin Park.)

Mammograms--Health insurance plans are required to pay for mammograms to detect breast cancer in cases where women are referred by nurse practitioners or midwives. (AB 3117 by Assemblywoman Gwen Moore, D-Los Angeles.)

Spousal Abuse--Husbands convicted of injuring their wives may be required to participate in a wife batterers’ treatment program. (AB 2632 by Assemblywoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles.)

GANGS

Graffiti--Cities and counties, with two-thirds approval by voters, can levy up to a 10-cent tax on aerosol spray paint cans and a five-cent tax on marker pens to raise money for removal of gang graffiti. (AB 3580 by Assemblyman Richard Katz, D-Sylmar.)

Graffiti Crime--The courts are allowed to suspend or delay for one year the driver’s license of anyone convicted of defacing property with paint or other materials used to create graffiti. (SB 1977 by Sen. Quentin L. Kopp, I-San Francisco.)

Teachers--The state will develop a training course for teachers and administrators on the proper handling of youth gangs, drugs and alcohol abuse. (SB 2460 by Sen. Cecil N. Green, D-Norwalk.)

EARTHQUAKES

Earthquake Insurance--A new state earthquake insurance fund will provide California’s 6.5 million homeowners with $15,000 each in earthquake damage insurance. Homeowners will be required to pay $12 to $60 a year, depending on the relative risk of a major quake in their region and the type of home construction. Coverage takes effect July 1. (SB 2902 by Sen. Frank Hill, R-Whittier.)

Coverage--Residential property insurers must offer earthquake damage coverage that meets specific standards. (SB 2596 by Sen. Alan Robbins, D-Tarzana.)

Looting--Those who loot commercial properties during a natural disaster-caused state of emergency are subject to a new crime with stiff penalties. (AB 3894 by Assemblyman William J. Filante, R-Greenbrae.)

Warning Systems--Stadiums and arenas designed for 10,000 or more must have public address systems with an emergency backup to announce what to do in case of a natural disaster. (AB 2994 by Assemblyman Gerald R. Eaves, D-Rialto.)

Maps--Seismic hazard maps for all of California will be developed by the state geologist. (AB 3897 by Assembly Speaker Willie Brown Jr., D-San Francisco.)

Homeowners’ Guide--The state Seismic Safety Commission is instructed to develop, publish and distribute a “Homeowners’ Guide to Earthquake Preparedness” by the end of this year. (AB 2959 by Assemblyman Johan Klehs, D-Castro Valley.)

Volunteers--A study will determine whether to create a volunteer corps that would coordinate grass-roots relief efforts during earthquakes, floods, fires or other disasters. (AB 3568 by Assemblyman Rusty Areias, D-Los Banos.)

INSURANCE

Life--A state life insurance guarantee fund is established to protect policyholders and their beneficiaries in the event that an insurer goes broke. (AB 4076 by Assemblyman Patrick Johnston, D-Stockton.)

Health--A state health insurance guarantee fund is established to pay off claims if a company goes bankrupt and leaves policyholders with unpaid medical bills. (SB 1979 by Sen. Alan Robbins, D-Tarzana.)

Sexual Orientation--Health insurance companies are prohibited from discriminating against policy applicants on the basis of their sexual orientation. (AB 1721 by Assemblyman Terry B. Friedman, D-Los Angeles.)

MILITARY

Mobile Homes--The maximum price for a mobile home financed with a Cal-Vet home and farm loan is increased from $90,000 to $125,000. (AB 3114 by Assemblyman Pete Chacon, D-San Diego.)

Middle East--State employees in reserve units called for duty in Saudi Arabia will be paid the difference between their state salary and military pay for six months. (SB 1899 by Sen. Ruben S. Ayala, D-Chino.)

Insurance--Automobile insurance companies are prohibited from denying coverage solely because an individual is on active duty with the armed forces. (AB 3683 by Assemblyman Dan Hauser, D-Arcata.)

DRUGS

Steroids--All public school athletic coaches and physical education teachers are required to be trained to prevent steroid and drug abuse. (AB 2063 by Assemblyman Steve Clute, D-Riverside.)

Workplace--Firms applying for state contracts are required to guarantee a drug-free workplace. (SB 1120 by Sen. John Seymour, R-Anaheim.)

Penalties--Potential penalties are increased for repeat drug offenders who refuse to participate in drug treatment programs. (AB 3407 by Assemblyman Curtis Tucker Jr., D-Inglewood.)

Autos--To help track proceeds of drug deals, automobile dealers are required to report all cash transactions exceeding $10,000. (AB 1314 by Assemblyman Steve Clute, D-Riverside.)

“Ice"--Possession of drug paraphernalia for use with “ice,” or crystal methamphetamine, is outlawed. (SB 2028 by Sen. John Doolittle, R-Rocklin).

Expenses--State agencies that receive federal anti-drug funds are required to report to the Legislature exactly how the money is spent. (SB 2739 by Senate President Pro Tem David A. Roberti, D-Los Angeles.)

ELECTIONS & POLITICS

Legislative Ethics--State legislators are prohibited from accepting speaking fees and gifts; free trips are limited; the first conflict-of-interest penalties for state lawmakers are established, and former legislators are prohibited from becoming special-interest lobbyists for one year after leaving office. (SB 1738 by Senate President Pro Tem David A. Roberti, D-Los Angeles.)

Campaigns--Elected state officials, appointees, employees and consultants face civil penalties for misusing state resources for personal purposes or in election campaign. (AB 2220 by Assemblyman Elihu M. Harris, D-Oakland.)

Ballot Propositions--Those who circulate petitions to qualify initiatives for the ballot are required to disclose their names and employers to prospective signers. (AB 3148 by Assemblyman Stan Statham, R-Oak Run.)

Proposition Backers--Friends and foes of proposed ballot propositions are required to publicly disclose their financial backers while qualification petitions are being circulated. (SB 284 by Sen. Milton Marks, D-San Francisco.)

Absentee Ballots--County election officials are required to post notices of the date, time and place where absentee ballots will be opened and counted. (AB 3586 by Assemblyman Richard L. Mountjoy, R-Monrovia.)

Disabled Voters--All election polling places must be made accessible to physically disabled voters. (AB 211 by Assemblyman Richard E. Floyd, D-Carson.)

TAXES

Forgery--It becomes a misdemeanor to forge a spouse’s signature on a state income tax form. (AB 3045 by Assemblywoman Jackie Speier, D-South San Francisco.)

Payments--Some Californians will be permitted to pay their state income and bank and corporation taxes by credit card under a pilot project. (AB 3583 by Assemblyman Paul A. Woodruff, R-Yucaipa.)

SENIOR CITIZENS

Drugs--Pharmacists are required to warn senior citizens of health hazards that could result from mixing prescription drugs. (AB 3276 by Assemblyman Bruce Bronzan, D-Fresno.)

Speed Limits--Local governments can establish 25 m.p.h. speed limits on streets in the vicinity of homes for senior citizens. (SB 1860 by Sen. Quentin L. Kopp, I-San Francisco.)

Fire Alarms--New fire alarm and sprinkler system standards are established for residential care homes for the elderly. (AB 1989 by Assemblyman Thomas M. Hannigan, D-Fairfield.)

Park Passes--Those 62 and older may obtain state park passes at reduced rates for use during off-peak hours under a pilot program that is applied to specific state facilities. (SB 752 by Sen. Dan McCorquodale, D-San Jose.)

Civil Suits--Civil actions involving those 70 and older may be granted trial calendar preference under certain conditions. (AB 3811 by Assembly Speaker Willie Brown Jr., D-San Francisco.)

EMPLOYMENT

Worker Safety--Employers can face criminal and civil penalties for violating state safety regulations that result in a worker’s death. (AB 1675 by Assemblyman Terry B. Friedman, D-Los Angeles.)

Danger Warning--Employers who fail to warn employees of the existence of a serious, concealed workplace danger can be charged with a crime. (AB 2249 by Assemblyman Terry B. Friedman, D-Los Angeles.)

Wages--Employers who pay their workers in cash to avoid taxes face tougher penalties. (AB 2693 by Assemblywoman Delaine Eastin, D-Union City.)

School Visits--Employers are prohibited from penalizing an employee who uses up to four hours of vacation time a year to visit his or her child’s school. (AB 3782 by Assemblyman Curtis Tucker Jr., D-Inglewood.)

MISCELLANEOUS

Drunken Boating--In conformity with laws for motor vehicle operators, adult boaters whose blood shows an alcohol level of 0.08% or minors who test at 0.05% are presumbed to be under the influence of alcohol. Previously the adult level was 0.10% for drunken boating. (SB 1808 by Sen. Bill Leonard, R-Big Bear.)

Fire Safety--Cities and counties may enact fire safety building ordinances that are stricter than state standards. (SB 1830 by Sen. Cecil N. Green, D-Norwalk.)

Check Cashing--Service centers that cash checks are required to post in plain view a schedule of the fees they charge. (AB 3096 by Assemblyman Elihu M. Harris D-Oakland.)

Los Angeles River--The state will study the feasibility of developing the Los Angeles River floodway as a park and recreation area. (SB 1920 by Sen. Art Torres D-Los Angeles.)

AIDS--The state Department of Health Services will conduct a detailed study of the effectiveness of AIDS-related programs in helping substance abusers, members of racial or ethnic minority groups and women. (AB 4248 by Assembly Speaker Willie Brown Jr., D-San Francisco.)

Puppies--To curb the sale of unhealthy animals, pet shops are required to inform puppy purchasers of a dog’s past veterinary treatment record. (AB 4300 by Assemblyman Sam Farr, D-Carmel.)

Cranes--Twice-a-year inspections of tower cranes will be conducted by the state. This law is the response to a San Francisco high-rise crane accident that killed five people and injured 21 others. (AB 3826 by Assemblyman Tom Hayden, D-Santa Monica.)

New State Boards--Proponents of new state boards or commissions must prove to the state Legislature that the boards are needed and that an existing body cannot assume the same duties. (AB 2572 by Assemblywoman Delaine Eastin, D-Union City.)

Charity--It will be easier to prosecute fraudulent charitable solicitation schemes because of the elimination of a requirement for two witnesses or proof in writing. (AB 2702 by Assemblyman Gerald R. Eaves, D-Rialto.)

Lottery--The state Lottery Commission will develop a model agreement for dividing big prizes among group members who purchase a winning ticket. (AB 2847 by Assemblyman Richard E. Floyd, D-Carson.)

Area Codes--Telephone companies are required to provide advance notice and hold public hearings before establishing new area codes. (AB 2889 by Assemblywoman Gwen Moore, D-Los Angeles.)

Trade Secrets--Barring overriding public interest to the contrary, judges may close courtrooms to hear testimony in which high technical trade secrets would be exposed. (AB 2986 by Assemblyman Charles W. Quackenbush, R-Saratoga.)


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