Brown signs California health care legislation
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Racing to finish work on bills from state lawmakers, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law three health care bills, including two designed to protect teenagers from skin cancer and sexually transmitted diseases.
One bill will make California the first state to make it illegal for teenagers than 18 to use tanning beds.
The second will let children as young as 12, without their parents’ consent, be vaccinated against human papillomavirus, known as HPV, the leading cause of cervical cancer.
The third bill requires insurance coverage for autism.
Brown vetoed a fourth health care bill, AB791, which would have required extra warnings for the 40 percent of women over 40 who have breast tissue dense enough to mask or mimic cancers on mammograms. Brown, in his veto message, debated whether the warning was “a path to greater knowledge or unnecessary anxiety.”
Early Monday, the governor’s office announced he had signed a measure that bans the open carrying of handguns. The law, AB144, makes it a misdemeanor to carry an exposed and unloaded gun in a public place.
Top California law enforcement officials supported the legislation, and the Los Angeles Times reported that Brown said he had “listened to the police chiefs.”
Brown on Sunday worked through 142 bills on his desk before a midnight deadline. Aides said it might be Monday before he announced all the actions he had taken.
He waded into the national debate over child vaccinations for sexually transmitted diseases by signing AB499, allowing preteens and teens to be vaccinated without their parents’ consent.
The choice has been hotly debated recently in the Republican presidential race, when candidate Michele Bachmann attacked Texas Gov. Rick Perry for issuing a 2007 executive order mandating the HPV vaccine for young girls.
Public health officials said the law will keep up with new prevention treatments and help slow the spread of disease among minors.
Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, worried the law will deceive preteen girls into believing they can freely engage in sexual activity without risk. He also accused Brown of interfering with parents’ ability to make decisions for children not yet old enough to vote or drive.
Public health officials also praised Brown for banning the use of tanning beds by teenagers under age 18.
Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, who authored SB746, said 30 other states have some restrictions but that California would be the first to set the higher age limit. Currently, using tanning beds is illegal in California for those 14 and under, but those ages 15-17 can tan with their parents’ permission.
The Indoor Tanning Association said 5 percent to 10 percent of its customers are younger than 18. The organization said California tanning salons already face the most stringent regulations in the nation.
Brown also signed SB946, requiring health insurance plans to provide coverage for children with autism or other developmental disorders.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, called the coverage “the difference between despair and hope” for many families.
Opponents say SB946 will increase health insurance premiums by millions of dollars just as many people and businesses are struggling to afford their insurance coverage during tight times.
Sunday’s action followed a similar flurry on Saturday. Among bills the governor said he signed on the final weekend:
– SB126, by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, punishes agriculture employers found to have violated union election rules by letting the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board automatically certify farmworker unions as a penalty.
– AB131, by Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, lets illegal immigrants apply for state-funded scholarships and aid at state universities. Brown signed the first half of the California Dream Act in July, when he approved private scholarships and loans for students who are illegal immigrants.
– AB1112, by Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, authorizes the Office of Spill Prevention and Response to raise fees for an oil spill prevention fund and increase inspections of high-risk vessel-to-vessel petroleum transfers.
– AB438, by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, requires private companies to prove they will save taxpayers money before they are allowed to take over operating a public library.
The governor vetoed:
– AB165, by Assemblyman Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, would have prohibited K-12 schools from charging fees for certain classes, sports and clubs. Brown said the bill took the wrong approach to ensuring that children are guaranteed a free public education.
– SB914, by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, would have required law enforcement officers to get a warrant before they search through the smart phones and other electronic devices of people they arrest. The bill would have overridden a recent California Supreme Court decision, but Brown said the issue is better left to the courts.
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