Senate Overwhelmingly OKs Drive-By Death Penalty Bill

Times Staff Writer

Those convicted of fatal drive-by shootings could receive the death penalty or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole under legislation overwhelmingly approved by the Senate.

The Senate’s 28-1 vote sent the bill (SB 310) by Sen. Ruben Ayala (D-Chino) to the Assembly. If approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor, the issue will be placed on the ballot for voters’ ratification.

Ayala’s measure is in response to the proliferation of drive-by shootings, many of them gang-related, that have occurred in Southern California over the past several years.

“Random killings from motor vehicles are senseless,” Ayala said. “And the fact that drive-by murderers (now) can be back on the streets within 15 years (of sentencing) is absurd.”


Floor Action

* Beer Kegs: Passed and sent to the Senate on a 46-25 vote a bill (AB 8) by Assemblyman Tom Connolly (D-Lemon Grove) to help police find out who buys beer for teen-age “kegger parties” by requiring liquor stores to put identification tags on beer kegs and make buyers sign receipts including their names, addresses and driver’s license numbers.

* Teacher Retirements: Passed and sent to the Senate on a 44-21 vote a bill (AB 449) by Assemblyman Paul Horcher (R-Diamond Bar) to allow elementary and secondary school teachers over age 50 to retire if their age plus years of service equal at least 85.

* Retirement Funds: Passed and sent to the Senate on a 60-5 vote a bill (AB 216) by Assemblyman Burt Margolin (D-Los Angeles) to authorize state or local retirement systems to invest in bonds or other debt instruments unconditionally guaranteed by Israel.

Committee Action

* Child Molesters: The Public Safety Committee approved a bill (AB 2009) by Assemblywoman Margaret Snyder (D-Modesto) to increase the maximum prison time for convicted child molesters from eight to 10 years and prohibit probation when two or more victims have been molested. The bill was sparked by a recent killing in court of an alleged child molester by the Tuolumne County mother of a victim. A 6-0 vote sent the bill to the Ways and Means Committee.

* Firearm Sales: The Public Safety Committee also approved a bill (AB 1333) by Assemblyman Mike Gotch (D-San Diego) to prohibit the sale by police of guns confiscated from criminals. A 5-2 vote sent the bill to the Ways and Means Committee.

* Presidential Primary: The Elections, Reapportionment and Constitutional Amendments Committee approved a bill (AB 2196) by Assemblyman Jim Costa (D-Hanford) to move the state’s presidential primary election to the first Tuesday in March. A 5-1 vote sent the bill to the Ways and Means Committee.

* Aspiring Legislators: The Elections Committee also approved a bill (AB 1025) by Assemblyman Steve Peace (D-Chula Vista) to require a state legislator to resign from office if he or she wishes to run for another state office in the middle of a term. A 6-1 vote sent the bill to the Ways and Means Committee.

Bill Introductions

* Cesar Chavez: ACR 49 by Assemblyman Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles) would declare each March 31 to be Cesar Chavez Day and declare the Legislature’s intent that appropriate ceremonies commemorating the late head of the United Farm Workers union be conducted throughout the state on that date.


Floor Action

* Workers’ Compensation: Passed and sent to the Assembly on a 35-0 vote a bill (SB 484) by Sen. Bill Lockyer (D-Hayward) to prohibit kickbacks to workers’ compensation claims adjusters and to void contracts with health care providers if state fraud and anti-kickback laws are violated.