Bills await governor's signature

It was a busy week at the state capitol as lawmakers scrambled to get bills to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk before recessing on Friday until January.

One bill written by Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) that increases protection for public safety workers recently got Brown’s signature.

The measure adds security officers and custody assistants to the state penal code for battery, allowing prosecutors to seek stiffer penalties if someone attacks them.

“I am pleased the governor recognized the need to deter any threats against these law enforcement personnel and to increase fines and jail time for perpetrators,” Liu said in a statement.

In Los Angeles County, security officers carry firearms and perform a range of duties, including detecting and preventing acts which could cause personal injury or damage property, Liu said. For example, they operate metal detectors in court houses and patrol some community college campuses.

Security officers also maintain alarm systems and electronic surveillance equipment, as well as respond to burglar alarms, she said.

Criminals convicted of battery in California can be punished with up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine or both.

A bill that prohibits cities and counties from enacting bans on male circumcision also is on its way to Brown’s desk.

The legislation, written by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake), passed the state Assembly unanimously on Tuesday. The Senate unanimously passed the measure on Aug. 30.

Gatto wrote the bill in response to an effort to ban circumcision of males under 18 in San Francisco.

For Jews and Muslims, circumcision is a sacred rite. A measure banning circumcision was to have been placed on the November ballot in San Francisco. However, the initiative was dismissed in July by a judge who found the ban violates an existing California law that preempts cities from regulating medical procedures.

“To enact an outright ban on an expression of personal, medical, and religious freedom is an affront to me and a majority of Californians,” Gatto said in a statement.”Such municipal measures are an improper, frivolous use of the initiative process, and would result in a confusing patchwork of regulations across the state that would leave many Californians feeling unwelcome in certain cities.”

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) has introduced similar legislation at the federal level.

A bill aimed at putting more rapists behind bars is also headed to the governor’s desk after approval by a 37-to-2 vote in the Senate Tuesday and a 66-10 vote in the Assembly Wednesday.

Written by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge), the measure would establish a 2 1/2-year pilot project to test all rape kits in counties where arrests are made in fewer than 12% of the rapes reported.

It also requires law enforcement agencies to report the number of rape kits they collect to the Department of Justice, as well as the number of rapes committed by strangers and the number of kits tested.

With the Legislature out of session, Brown has 30 days to either sign the bills, veto them or ignore them, which means the legislation becomes law without a signature. When the Legislature is in session, the governor 12 days to sign legislation.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) joined more than 50 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers at a Ralphs market in Sherman Oaks to urge executives of Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons to negotiate a fair contract with their employees.

Workers at those grocery stories have working without a contract for six months, Sherman said.

“It’s time the supermarket chains shared some of their millions in profits with their workers,” he said in a statement.

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