Governor vetoes health care, abandoned baby and welfare bills
SACRAMENTO (AP) – Citing the increased costs, Gov. Gray Davis vetoed bills Wednesday that would have encouraged medical students to practice in underserved areas and discouraged mothers from abandoning newborns.
Davis also turned down bills that would have allowed people in drug rehabilitation programs to receive welfare and food stamps and allowed school personnel to help students take nonprescription medicine with parental permission.
In each case the governor cited the cost of the bill in veto messages to lawmakers.
The medical student bill, by Sen. Kevin Murray, D-Culver City, would have allocated $1 million to help repay the school loans of medical students who agreed to practice in areas with a shortage of physicians.
Davis said the assistance should come from the local sites that benefitted from the additional doctors.
He vetoed a similar bill last year.
The governor also cited cost in vetoing a bill that would have authorized $1 million for a media campaign to inform pregnant women about a law that tries to prevent the abandonment of newborns in trash bins or other unsafe places.
Under that statute, enacted last year, a mother who surrenders a newborn at a hospital emergency room or other place designated by county officials won’t face child abandonment charges.
Davis said he was ”highly supportive” of the media campaign bill by Sen. Jim Brulte, R-Rancho Cucamonga, but that there wasn’t money to pay for it in the increasingly strapped state budget.
He ordered administration officials to work with the Education Department and attorney general’s office on an outreach plan that would ”address this issue in a cost-effective manner.”
Davis said the student medication bill could have been interpreted as a state-mandate on schools that could cost the state $40 million a year. He said he would sign a similar bill next year that was ”clearly permissive in nature rather than mandatory.”
Supporters said the welfare bill by Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, D-Los Angeles, would have helped people stay off drugs and out of prison.
The measure would have allowed people convicted of drug use or possession after 1997 to take part in the CalWORKs welfare-to-work program and to receive food stamps if they take part in drug treatment programs.
Davis said the state shouldn’t be expanding eligibility for CalWORKs ”due to continuing economic uncertainty.”
The governor also signed bills that will:
– Allow taxpayers to donate part of their state income tax returns to a fund for lupus research, once another voluntary contribution fund is dropped from state tax forms.
– Require the state Coastal Conservancy to prepare a plan to complete the 1,200-mile California Coastal Trail.
– Allow rental car companies to temporarily rent passenger vehicles registered in other states for use in California. The measure is intended to mitigate any shortage of rental cars stemming from the disruption of airline service after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
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