Governor signs, vetoes lots of bills

September 30, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Sept. 30 marked the deadline for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign or veto piles of bills stacked on his desk. Here is a look at some bills that are worth noting that became law on Thursday and two others the governor turned down.

Among the laws Schwarzenegger has approved is a radiation safety bill. There were 260 cases just at Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Center alone and that number came to light in fear of patients being over-exposed during routine CT scans, causing ailments like hair loss. Another hospital left a baby in the machine an hour instead of a minute. The new law puts better protections in place.

"What happened at Cedars-Sinai was a wake-up call," said Paloma Perez from Consumer Attorneys of California. "We strongly believe that had the safeguards been in place, these tragedies wouldn't have occurred."

The governor also gave foster kids in California a break. He extended foster care benefits to age 21 to help them transition to adulthood.

"My foster parents were like, 'Get out of the house,'" said Christina Davis-Clark, a former foster care youth.

There have been horror stories about foster kids forced out on their own as soon as they turned 18, increasing their likelihood of homelessness and crime. Former foster youth say the extra benefits give them a chance.

"We're stigmatized by our past. They think because we're foster youth, we do bad things, we go to jail, we get pregnant. I mean, the statistics are against us," said Davis-Clark.

However, Schwarzenegger also vetoed some proposals that would have been popular with Californians.

One would have banned those annoying debit card fees at many Arco gas stations for instance. Customers have to pay an extra 45 cents for using a debit card; but the governor nixed the idea saying he's afraid those businesses will just raise their price for everyone to make up the difference.

"Well, obviously, he's not for the little man and the business people," said Bennie Simmons, a debit card customer.

Red light camera tickets usually cost more than $400 per violation, but a bill that reduced the fine by half for those California rolls -- where drivers don't make a complete stop when turning right on red -- the governor vetoed that too, saying he doesn't want to encourage dangerous driving.

Some drivers say they're not surprised, since the state needs the money.

"If you veto that amount of money, money coming into the general coffer, then you're stopping taxes or money being used for certain things and he doesn't want do that. So as a result, is that right? No," said Sol Irving who received a red light ticket.

The one thing the governor should be signing and isn't is the state budget, but the Legislature hasn't sent him one yet. It is now going on four months late.

Other last minute actions from the governor included him signing a bill requiring all school cafeterias to provide drinking water because not all do. He also signed a bill to protect the privacy of FasTrak users and one to give teenagers immunity from under-age drinking charges when calling 911.

He vetoed a bill that would have made smuggling cell phones into a prison a misdemeanor because he thought the bill should be written.


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