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.

Massachusetts will divest from Sudan

Governor Deval Patrick has signed a bill which will divest Massachusetts’s pension funds from companies that do business with the government of Sudan. S2255 was sponsored by Rep. Jay Kaufman, Sen. Harriette Chandler, and Sen. Edward Augustus and targets only those companies which are considered the worst offenders of enabling the Sudanese government’s continuing genocide in Darfur. Hundreds of thousands have been killed, and millions displaced in the Darfur region. Massachusetts is the twenty-first state to divest from Sudan. Michigan’s legislature is still considering a similar bill. For more information, see CPA’s Divestment to Support Human Rights In Sudan policy brief and model legislation. [Boston Globe]

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]

Michigan governor expands discrimination protections

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has issued an executive directive forbidding discrimination in employment in the state’s Executive Branch based on gender identity or expression. The order covers nearly 50,000 employees. Public employees in Michigan were already protected from discrimination based on their sexual orientation. On the national level, Congressional leaders have been locked in a battle over whether to include gender identity in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation. However, states are moving forward with providing transgender workers with protection from discrimination in the workplace. Twelve states and Washington D.C. forbid discrimination against public and private employees based on gender identity and four more states protect public employees from such discrimination. Michigan is now one of six states that have an executive order, administrative order or personnel regulation prohibiting discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity (“Statewide Employment Laws & Policies,” Human Rights Campaign). For more information, read CPA’s GLBT Anti-Discrimination policy brief and model legislation. [AP]