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(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced that bills to crack down on sex offenders, ban Internet sales of cigarettes, beef up funding for crime-solving DNA testing and close a loophole in the state’s assault weapons ban are among measures sponsored by his office that won lawmakers’ approval in the 2006 legislative session.
“Taken together, these measures protect our children and families from sex offenders, safeguard consumers, keep assault weapons off our streets and cigarettes from our kids, help us solve crimes and make our gambling laws more sensible,” said Lockyer. “I’m pleased the Senate and Assembly determined these measures warranted passage, and thankful for my staff and supporters, who turned great ideas into successful legislation.”
Following is a summary of major bills sponsored by Lockyer that won legislative approval in 2006:
Sex Offenders – SB 1128 (Alquist) would enact comprehensive reforms to toughen California laws dealing with sex offenders. The main provisions would: create a new crime for using the Internet to prey on children; enhance penalties for possession or distribution of child pornography; strengthen penalties for sex crimes against children; add new crimes to the list of those requiring sex offender registration; add more sex offenders to the Megan’s Law web site; increase the information about offenders on the Megan’s Law web site; create a system of risk assessments for sex offenders; lengthen parole periods for sex offenders; prohibit sex offenders from entering schools without a lawful purpose, and increase sentences for sex offenders who loiter around schools; prohibit certain sex offenders from entering an elder care facility without registering with the facility; and revise the state’s Sexually Violent Predator law. The measure is on the Governor’s desk.
Sex Offenders – AB 1900 (Lieu) would prohibit a person required to register as a sex offender for a crime committed against a child from employing or supervising children in an unaccompanied setting. The measure is on the Governor’s desk.
Internet Cigarette Sales – SB 1208 (Ortiz) would prohibit Internet sales of cigarettes, and all direct shipment of cigarettes by common or contract carriers, to California consumers. Internet sellers of cigarettes make no effort to verify the age of their customers, and the state loses tens of millions of dollars in tax revenues annually to such sales. The measure is on the Governor’s desk.
DNA Testing Funds – SB75 (Dunn) appropriated $1.3 million to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to buy 260,000 DNA collection kits for local law enforcement agencies. The funds ensured local police agencies could continue collecting DNA samples from all qualifying individuals under Proposition 69. The Governor signed the measure into law.
Assault Weapons Ban –AB 2728 (Klehs) would close a loophole in California’s assault weapons ban by removing the potential for individuals to continually build, register and legally own new types of weapons before a prohibition on those specific firearms can take effect. The measure is on the Governor’s desk.
Charity Casino Nights – AB 839 (Torrico) would allow bonafide nonprofit organizations to host casino nights to help raise funds for important charity programs. The bill contains safeguards against abuse, including a limit of one event per year, a ban on cash prizes, and a requirement that at least 90 percent of revenues go to the charity. The measure is on the Governor’s desk.
Gambling Regulation Funding – AB 1620 (Klehs) would raise additional funds for the Attorney General’s Division of Gambling Control (Division) by increasing licensing fees paid by cardrooms. The revenue raised by the higher fees will allow the Division to hire more compliance and enforcement personnel to regulate cardrooms. The new fees will be assessed per table, either by the number of tables or the revenue generated by each table, whichever is greater. The measure is on the Governor’s desk.
Prescription Drug Abuse – AB 2986 (Mullin) would improve California’s reporting and monitoring system designed to guard against prescription drug abuse and improper prescribing of such drugs. The bill would require pharmacies and doctors to report to DOJ weekly, instead of monthly, prescription information related to painkillers and other drugs. It also would add sedatives and anti-depressants to the list of drugs for which such reporting and monitoring is required. The measure is on the Governor’s desk.
Taxpayer Protection – SB 1489 (Ducheny) would protect the state’s general fund while ensuring stable financing for the Attorney General’s environmental and consumer protection, and corporate fraud enforcement programs. When taxpayers, through the Attorney General, spend their money to civilly prosecute lawbreaking tobacco firms, oil companies, polluters and fraud artists – and win the case – SB 1489 would allow the Attorney General to get taxpayers’ money back from the wrongdoers. The measure is on the Governor’s desk.