Senate Votes to Levy Stiff Tax on Dealers of Illegal Drugs

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Times staff writer

Illegal drug dealers would face a stiff new tax under legislation passed by the Senate on a 36-0 vote.

Dealers would be required to pay a $500 tax on each ounce of illegal drugs in their possession. Those caught with drugs and no receipt for having paid the tax would be subject to a higher levy--a $5,000 civil penalty per once of drugs involved.

“If we catch them with the goods, we can really sock it to them,” said Sen. Ed Davis, the Santa Clarita Republican and former Los Angeles police chief who authored the measure. It now goes to the Assembly.


Drug dealers could pay the tax anonymously to the State Board of Equalization. The confidential payments could not be used by police or prosecutors to track down drug sellers.

Invoking the name of notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone, one lawmaker urged the Senate to pass the bill and “take the profit out of drugs.”

“Don’t forget, it was tax evasion that put Al Capone in prison,” said Sen. Charles M. Calderon (D-Whittier). ASSEMBLY Floor Action

Remains: Passed and sent to the Senate on a 52-13 vote a bill (AB12) by Assemblyman Richard Katz (D-Sylmar) declaring that Indian skeletal remains being kept in museums and universities should be returned to descendants.

Business Relocations: Passed and sent to the Senate on a 55-19 vote a bill (AB 295) by Assemblyman Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles) to track business firms that leave California, find out why they left, and develop strategies to prevent the exodus.

Sick Leave: Passed and sent to the Senate on a 42-29 vote a bill (AB 1546) by Assemblyman Terry B. Friedman (D-Los Angeles) to require employers who provide sick leave to allow employees to use it to care for their sick children.


Global Warming: Passed and sent to the Senate on a 60-9 vote a bill (AB 1627) by Assemblyman Byron D. Sher (D-Palo Alto) to require state agencies to consider the effects of a global climate change on their areas of jurisdiction and, if appropriate, to develop contingency plans to deal with any warming impact.

Pawnbrokers: Rejected on a 33-32 vote a bill (AB 1285) by Assemblyman Richard E. Floyd (D-Carson) to allow pawnbrokers to raise the fees they charge customers for storing merchandise. Forty-one yes votes were required for approval. The author served notice that he would try for passage later. Committee Action

Offshore Oil: The Ways and Means Committee approved a bill (AB 854) by Assemblyman Ted Lempert (D-San Mateo) to ban new offshore oil and gas drilling within the state’s three-mile limit. A 12-8 vote sent the bill to the Assembly floor.

Television: The Televising the Assembly Committee approved a bill (AB 1662) by Assemblyman Stan Statham (R-Oak Run) to prohibit the political use of telecasts of floor sessions and committee hearings. A 3-0 vote sent the bill to the Ways and Means Committee. Bill Introductions

Boycott: AB 2251 by Assemblyman Burt Margolin (D-Los Angeles) would prohibit the investment of state public funds in companies that participate in the Arab economic boycott of Israel. SENATE Floor Action

Women: Passed and sent to the Assembly on a 21-9 vote a bill (SB 172) by Sen. Diane Watson (D-Los Angeles) to require that more women and minorities be considered for appointments to gubernatorial boards and commissions.


Fake Bombs: Passed and sent to the Assembly on a 32-0 vote a bill (SB 384) by Sen. Newton R. Russell (R-Glendale) to make it a crime to possess a false or facsimile bomb with the intent of making other people think that it is real. Miscellany

GOP Leadership Fight: A small group of Assembly Republican members loyal to their leader, Ross Johnson of La Habra, went to see Assembly Speaker Willie Brown (D-San Francisco) on Thursday to ask his help in protecting Johnson from a possible coup attempt, according to reliable sources. Another GOP group has been busy trying to line up votes to replace Johnson with Assemblyman Paul A. Woodruff of Yucaipa. Speaker Brown reportedly told his visitors that he was not interested in getting involved in any Republican skirmishes. A Johnson spokesman insisted that the GOP leader is not worried about losing his post--at least not yet. Capital Fact

The lieutenant governor is second in command to the governor. He assumes the powers and duties of that office should the governor resign, die, be incapacitated or temporarily leave the state. The lieutenant governor is the president of the 40-member Senate and in case of a tie has the deciding vote on legislation in that body.