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Assembly Passes Bill Requiring Life Jackets for Children in Boats

Times Staff Writer

Legislation to require most young children to wear life jackets to help save lives that could be lost in small boating accidents has been sent to Gov. Pete Wilson’s desk by the Assembly.

The lower house voted 45 to 32 to grant final approval to the bill (AB 1856) sponsored by Assemblywoman Jackie Speier (D-Burlingame).

It would make it illegal to operate a boat under 26 feet in length unless children under the age of 6 are wearing life jackets. Small children inside a boat cabin or restrained by a harness fastened to a sailboat would be exempted.

Violators would be subject to $250 fines. A spokesman for the governor said he has no position on the measure at this time.

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GOVERNOR

* Signed into law a bill (SB 884) by Sen. Tim Leslie (R-Carnelian Bay) to require legislative approval of new state lottery games.

ASSEMBLY

Floor Action

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* Gang Clothing: Passed and sent to the governor on a 43-0 vote a bill (AB 980) by Assemblywoman Doris Allen (R-Cypress) to let local school boards adopt dress codes to prohibit students from wearing gang-related clothing.

* Guns on Campus: Passed and sent to the governor on a 63-0 vote a bill (AB 342) by Assemblywoman Paula Boland (R-Granada Hills) to require school principals to immediately suspend and recommend for expulsion students found on campus with a firearm, knife or explosive in their possession.

* Smoking Ban: Passed and sent to the governor on a 41-11 vote a bill (AB 291) by Assemblywoman Jackie Speier (D-Burlingame) to prohibit smoking in most state buildings, including those controlled by the Legislature, the court system, the University of California, the state colleges and the community colleges.

* Sheriff’s Department Merger: Passed and sent to the governor on a 42-22 vote a bill (AB 1587) by Assemblyman Richard Katz (D-Sylmar) to allow Los Angeles County supervisors to consolidate the Sheriff’s Department and the Marshal’s Department to save an estimated $10 million to $15 million a year.

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* Pornographic Videos: Passed and sent to the governor on a 52-0 vote a bill (AB 538) by Assemblyman Bernie Richter (R-Chico) to make it a crime to rent a video and add pornographic footage to it to shock unsuspecting subsequent viewers.

* Lake Tahoe: Passed and returned to the Senate for concurrence in amendments on a 55-11 vote a bill (SB 648) by Sen. Tim Leslie (R-Carnelian Bay) to make special Lake Tahoe scene license plates available for an additional fee to raise money for lake preservation projects.

* Pickup Trucks: Passed and sent to the governor on a 44-26 vote a bill (AB 153) by Assemblyman Curtis Tucker Jr. (D-Inglewood) to prohibit people from riding in the beds of open pickups unless they are secured by a restraint system.

* Death Penalty: Passed and sent to the Senate on a 54-10 vote a bill (AB 2403) by Assemblyman Bob Epple (D-Cerritos) to prevent third party appeals in state courts on behalf of Death Row inmates who choose not to fight their executions.

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SENATE

Floor Action

* Spousal Rape: Passed and returned to the Assembly for concurrence in amendments on a 26-7 vote a bill (AB 187) by Assemblywoman Hilda Solis (D-El Monte) to make spousal rapists subject to the same prison sentences as other rapists.

* Children’s Rights: Passed and returned to the Assembly for concurrence in Senate amendments on a 21-11 vote a bill (AB 887) by Assemblywoman Marguerite Archie-Hudson (D-Los Angeles) urging development of a “children’s bill of rights” to draw public attention to their special needs and recommend ways to meet them.

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* Foreign Bonds: Passed and returned to the Assembly for concurrence in Senate amendments on a 22-5 vote a bill (AB 216) by Assemblyman Burt Margolin (D-Los Angeles) to allow state and local pension funds to purchase bonds unconditionally guaranteed by other nations such as Israel, Canada or Mexico.

Committee Action

* Breast Cancer: The Appropriations Committee approved a bill (AB 478) by Assemblywoman Barbara Friedman (D-Los Angeles) to increase the state cigarette tax by two cents a package to raise $38 million annually to finance breast cancer research, detection and education. A 12-1 vote sent the bill to the Senate floor.

(Readers who wish to communicate with state legislators regarding Assembly and Senate bills can write to them at the State Capitol, Sacramento, Calif., 95814.)

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