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Bills: Making coaches mandatory abuse reporters to free online college textbook for state system

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POSTED May 30, 2012 9:17 p.m.

to SACRAMEMNTO (AP) - The  following are proposed laws that have been approved by either the California Assembly or State Senate for advancement to the other chamber.

BILL WOULD CREATE NEW FUNDING FOR STATE PARKS:   Bipartisan legislation to create new funding sources for state parks and limit the California Department of Parks and Recreation's authority to close them has passed the Assembly.

AB1589 by Democratic Assemblyman Jared Huffman of San Rafael also requires the department to modernize its fee collection and allow residents to donate to parks by buying special license plates or checking a box on their tax returns.

Lawmakers approved the bill on a 74-0 vote Wednesday, sending it to the Senate.

The bill is one of several moving through the Legislature aimed at saving most of the 70 parks slated for foreclosure because of California's ongoing budget crisis.

AB1589 also requires the department to publicly explain its rationale for closing other parks in the future.

ASSEMBLY ADDS COACHES TO MANDATORY ABUSE REPORTERS: (AP) — The state Assembly has unanimously approved a bill that would add athletic coaches and administrators to the list of California workers who are required to report suspected child abuse or neglect to authorities.

AB1435 by Democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson of Sacramento was motivated by the sex abuse scandal at Penn State University, where former college football coach Jerry Sandusky is accused of sexually abusing 10 boys between 1994 and 2008.

Former co-workers allegedly knew of some abuse but failed to report it.

The bill passed the Assembly Wednesday and now goes to the state Senate.

Dickinson said the law would make it "unambiguous that these people are required by law to report." The legislation would include coaches employed by private and public groups as well as schools.

BILL WOULD SET UP VOLUNTARY PET GROOMER PROGRAM: Pet groomers could participate in a voluntary certification program under a bill approved by the state Senate.

Sen. Juan Vargas, a Democrat from San Diego, says the legislation is needed because some groomers do poor jobs. He cites the case of Lucy, a Yorkshire terrier mix that suffered a detached retina, severed ligament and multiple lacerations during a grooming visit.

His SB969 would set up a California Pet Grooming Council to oversee the program. Vargas says owners could make informed decisions on having their pets cared for by certified groomers.

Sen. Sam Blakeslee, a Republican from San Luis Obispo, questioned whether lawmakers should spend their time on what he sarcastically termed such "critically important issues." He opposed the bill, which passed Wednesday, 22-14.

The measure now goes to the Assembly.

BILL WOULD OFFER FREE COLLEGE TEXTBOOKS ONLINE

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California would seek to provide college students with free textbooks online under two bills approved by the state Senate.

The bills sought by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg would require the state to put out bids to create the open-source material for the top 50 college classes. It would be free on the Internet and allow students to buy printed copies at a low cost.

Steinberg, a Democrat from Sacramento, says publishers currently charge "exorbitant" prices for the materials. He says the cheaper alternative would help offset soaring tuition and fees.

The American Publishers Association opposes the bill, saying publishers already have put many textbooks online at lower costs.

SB1052 passed 32-2, while a companion bill, SB1053, passed on a 33-2 vote Wednesday. Both bills go to the Assembly.

ASSEMBLY APPROVES TUITION CUT FOR MIDDLE CLASS: The state Assembly has approved a bill to cut tuition at the University of California and California State University by two-thirds for students whose families make too much to qualify for financial aid.

AB1501, part of Assembly Speaker John Perez's so-called "Middle-Class Scholarship Act," passed the Assembly on a 54-17 vote Wednesday and goes to the Senate.

The tuition relief would be available for students whose families make less than $150,000 a year.

Wednesday's vote does not provide funding for the program. A separate bill by the Los Angeles Democrat would generate $1 billion by eliminating a corporate tax break. Perez said he would bring that legislation up later.

Many Republican lawmakers opposed the legislation, saying public universities should be forced to cut spending and limit tuition increases.

SENATE VOTES TO BAN GAY 'CONVERSION' THERAPY: The state Senate has approved what supporters say would be the nation's first ban on a form of psychotherapy aimed at making gay people straight.

The bill would prohibit what is known as reparative therapy for minors.

Democratic Sen. Ted Lieu of Torrance says he is seeking the ban because he believes so-called conversion therapy is dangerous. He says it has led some people to attempt suicide.

Psychiatric, family therapy and mental health associations are split on the bill.

There was no spoken opposition Wednesday, but some religious groups say it would interfere with parents' rights to seek psychological care for their children.

SB1172 passed on a 23-13 vote Wednesday and goes to the Assembly.

BILL ALLOWS GRAND JURY FOR FINANCIAL CRIMES: California's attorney general could convene a statewide grand jury to investigate financial crimes that cross county lines under bills approved in the state Assembly and Senate.

The legislation unanimously passed Wednesday is part of a package of consumer-protection bills that Attorney General Kamala Harris pursued in response to the mortgage crisis.

Sen. Loni Hancock, a Berkeley Democrat, says a statewide grand jury is needed when mortgage fraud crosses jurisdictions and involves multiple victims.

Bankers oppose other parts of Harris' package, but have not taken positions on SB1474 and AB1763.

Another bill approved Wednesday, AB1950 by Democratic Assemblyman Mike Davis of Los Angeles, extends the statute of limitations for prosecuting mortgage fraud from one year to three years.

BILL ADDS PROTECTION FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS: The state Assembly has unanimously approved legislation allowing judges to order electronic monitors placed on defendants accused of domestic violence while they are awaiting trial.

AB2467, by Democratic Assemblyman Ben Hueso of San Diego, would allow a judge to order defendants to wear a GPS device when a restraining order is issued against them in a domestic violence case.

The bill passed the Assembly 68-0 and goes to the Senate.

BILL EXTENDS MEDICAL PAROLE PROGRAM TO LOCAL JAILS : County jails could release terminally ill or permanently incapacitated prisoners under a bill approved by the state Senate.

The bill by Democratic Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco, extends to counties existing compassionate release and medical parole programs that currently can be used to release state prison inmates before they complete their sentences.

The legislative analyst's office estimates SB1462 would save counties millions of dollars annually by reducing security and medical costs. Los Angeles County expects to save $7.3 million a year if 10 inmates are released.

Sen. Joel Anderson, a Republican from La Mesa, says the bill endangers public safety.

Leno says sheriffs could re-incarcerate freed inmates who recover or pose a public safety threat.

It passed 22-15 Wednesday and goes to the Assembly.

 

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