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Bill Would Increase Fines for Oil, Chemical Spills in Rivers

Times staff writer

Sparked by a recent Southern Pacific tanker car derailment in Northern California, Senate-passed legislation to increase fines for oil and chemical spills into rivers and other state waters is awaiting an Assembly floor vote.

A 20-3 vote sent the bill (SB 1081) by Sen. Gary Hart (D-Santa Barbara) from the Ways and Means Committee to the lower house floor.

“Oil and chemical spills into our rivers can do irreparable damage to fish, wildlife and vegetation,” Hart said. “These spills can be even more damaging than spills at sea.”

The bill allows the courts to impose an additional penalty of $10 for each gallon of oil or other harmful substance that is illegally discharged into state waterways.

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The SP tanker car derailment in Dunsmuir spilled almost 20,000 gallons of a deadly pesticide into the upper Sacramento River, killing tens of thousands of fish, and doing untold damage downstream, according to Hart.

GOVERNOR

* Appointed former San Diego Police Chief William Kolender to become director of the California Youth Authority. A Republican, Kolender, 56, currently works as an assistant to the publisher at the San Diego Union & Tribune Publishing Co. He replaces B.T. Collins of Carmichael, who resigned to run for the Assembly. The job pays $95,052 a year and requires Senate confirmation.

ASSEMBLY

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Floor Action

* Pickup Trucks: Passed and sent to the governor on a 43-23 vote a bill (AB 178) by Assemblyman Curtis Tucker Jr. (D-Inglewood) to prohibit people from riding in the back of a pickup truck unless the space is enclosed or equipped to secure them to the vehicle.

* African-Americans: Granted final approval on a 41-25 vote to a resolution (ACR 57) by Assemblywoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) to create a state commission to look into problems of African-American males and make recommendations to the Legislature by July 31, 1992.

* Arab Boycott: Passed and sent to the Senate on a 57-16 vote a bill (AB 2251) by Assemblyman Burt Margolin (D-Los Angeles) to prohibit the investment of state funds in firms that participate in the Arab League’s boycott of Israel.

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* Insurance Complaints: Passed and returned to the Senate for concurrence in amendments on a 54-6 vote a bill (SB 364) by Sen. Alan Robbins (D-Tarzana) to require insurance companies to provide a toll-free telephone number for consumer complaints.

* Divorce: Passed and sent to the Senate on a 56-1 vote a bill (AB 1437) by Assemblywoman Jackie Speier (D-South San Francisco) to require the two parties in a divorce case to disclose to each other all assets, liabilities, income and expenses.

* Pets: Passed and returned to the Senate for concurrence in amendments on a 70-0 vote a bill (SB 15) also by Sen. Robbins to make it a crime to accept another person’s pet animal and later resell it for medical research purposes.

Committee Action

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* RU-484: The Ways and Means Committee approved a resolution (AJR 40) also by Assemblywoman Speier asking that California be chosen as a research testing site for the controversial French abortion pill RU-484. A 12-5 vote sent the resolution to the Assembly floor.

SENATE

Floor Action

* Firearm Safety: Passed and sent to the governor on a 30-4 vote a bill (SB 1235) by Sen. Newton Russell (R-Glendale) to require firearms dealers to provide a basic firearms safety brochure to each purchaser.

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* Fake Bombs: Passed and sent to the governor on a 34-0 vote a bill (SB 384) also by Sen. Russell to make it a crime to possess a fake bomb with the intent of making another person fear for his safety.

* Employee Records: Passed and sent to the governor on a 22-15 vote a bill (AB 1150) by Assemblyman Richard Floyd (D-Carson) to allow employees to obtain copies of their personnel files from employers if they pay reasonable copying fees.

* Credit Ratings: Passed and sent to the Assembly on a 21-15 vote a bill (SB 473) by Sen. Milton Marks (D-San Francisco) to prohibit employers from using credit reports for hiring or promotion purposes.

Capital Fact

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Gov. Pete Wilson could appoint 1,500 judges and 2,500 people to various state boards and commissions if all such positions became vacant.


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