California outlaws smoking in cars with kids

A bill signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will protect children in cars from secondhand smoke. SB 7, authored by Sen. Jenny Oropeza, would fine drivers $100 if they are pulled over for another offense and are then caught smoking while a minor is in the car. California is the third state to limit smoking in cars with children, although it is the only one to extend the ban to protect children up to age 17. Louisiana bans smoking in cars when children under age 14 are in the vehicle and Arkansas bans it when children under age seven are in the vehicle. According to Sen. Oropeza’s press release, health experts testified that “second-hand smoke in a car can be up to 10 times more dangerous than in a home.” For information on a related topic, see CPA’s Smoke-Free Workplaces policy brief and model legislation. [AP]

Gov. Schwarzenegger acts on dozens of bills

Over the weekend Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger took action on numerous bills. Semi-automatic pistols sold in the state must employ microstamping technology by 2010. Microstamping imprints unique characters on bullets as they are fired, which gives police more information to solve crimes. However, the governor vetoed three bills aimed at reforming the criminal investigation process by requiring uniform regulations for police line-ups, recording of interrogations, and corroboration of jailhouse informants’ testimony. The governor also signed a bill banning the sale of any items containing phthalates targeted at children under three. Food containing trans fats will now be banned from school cafeterias and vending machines, but chain restaurants will not be required to post nutrition information. Although a bill granting same sex couples marriage equality was vetoed, seven other measures protecting the rights of the LGBT community were signed. The governor also vetoed the legislature’s health care proposal and it seems unlikely that his plan will receive much support from the legislature, meaning health care reform is likely dead for the year in California. For more information, check the roundups of the end of the regular session at the Los Angeles Times, the Sacramento Bee, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

UPDATE: Sorry, we should have mentioned that California Progress Report has a great list of articles and op eds about the end of California’s legislative session and many other resources for progressives in California.

San Francisco may offer IDs to all residents

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has given preliminary approval to a policy which would grant ID cards to any resident of the city, regardless of legal status. If passed, San Francisco would be the largest city in the United States to provide such ID cards. Last year, New Haven, Connecticut began offering similar ID cards. The ID cards will be particularly valuable because they may provide residents of the city with a way to gain access to banking services. Lack of access to services such as bank accounts leaves undocumented immigrants vulnerable to theft which they are then often reluctant to report. In other immigration-related news, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer withdrew his proposal to grant driver’s licenses to all residents, regardless of immigration status, after facing a storm of controversy over the plan. Providing driver’s licenses to immigrants protects public safety by providing the government with accurate identification information for more people. It also protects all drivers by reducing the number of unlicensed, uninsured drivers on the road. Eight states currently allow any residents to apply for licenses. For more information on the subject, see CPA’s policy brief and model legislation on driver’s licenses for immigrants and Gov. Spitzer’s press release. [NY Times]

Election Results for Ballot Measures Prove Largely in Support of Progressives

Tuesday’s election contained a large number of voter initiatives and proposed state constitutional amendments. Here are the results for those issues:

Abortion Ban
The South Dakota proposed constitutional amendment to ban almost all abortions failed with a vote of 56 percent to 44 percent. This amendment would have been a direct challenge to the US Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade.

Gay Marriage Bans
The proposed ban on gay marriage in Arizona failed with a vote of 51 percent against and 49 percent for the amendment. Den ganzen Beitrag lesen…