EAST BAY CITIZEN. EVERYWHERE SINCE 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Corbett Smarts from Vetoed Bills

HOSPITAL ER BILL, E-CIGARETTE AND SIGNATURE FOR HIRE BAN AMONG VETOED ITEMS

Unfortunately, having controversial bills vetoed amid a stack of passed legislation is like the school principal's familiarity with the bad kids over the good ones.

Nine bills authored by state Sen. Ellen Corbett were signed into law in a flurry of activity from Sacramento. Legislation highlighted by Corbett's bill protecting used car buyers from being saddled with previous liens on the automobiles they purchase was signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger Sunday. New laws by Corbett also makes the labeling of prescription drugs more clear as to include the reason the patient is using the particular drug, while another further protects valuable groundwaters in Southern Alameda County from development.

Of the 14 bills under the governor's consideration, it was the five returned bills that were among the most newsworthy the past few months. Politics, long-standing disputes and conflicts with big business interests torpedoed bills that would have banned the sale of e-cigarettes, discontinued the paying of signature-gatherers for possible local and state ballot measures and dealt a slight blow to San Leandro's ability to keep the emergency room at its embattled hospital open.

Schwarzenegger may have been sidestepping the possible legal overlapping of banning e-cigarettes, which are smokeless, nicotine-delivery devices, and regular cigarettes as a whole by the veto. Such a law could be reinvented as the means to challenge other products, such as traditional cigarettes. Critics say the prevalence of different flavors and the appearance of marketing to the young could exasperbate health concerns from ingesting nicotine. The governor says he supports restricting access to those under-18, but also defended the rights of individuals to choose their own poison. "If adults want to purchase and consume these products with an understanding of the associated health risks, they should be able to do so unless and until federal law changes the legal status of these tobacco products."

Along with the the e-cigarette veto, Corbett was also disappointed with the failure of her bill that would have halted the practice of paying signature gatherers to drum up support for various petitions. In a press release, Corbett vowed to continue support for both in the future. Opponents of the bill said its would limit the power of individuals to affect change through referendums. One group labeled it as a ploy by Sacramento to clamp down on voices against their interests. In his veto message, Schwarzenegger said, As I have stated when vetoing similar legislation, prohibitions on per-signature payments will make it more difficult for grassroots organizations to gather the necessary signatures and qualify measures for the ballot."

Most devastatingly to constituents in her district is the veto of SB 196, Corbett's bill to extend the time a hospital provider must give before closing an existing emergency room from 90 to 120 days, has immediate local ramifications. Undoubtedly, aimed at the possible closure of ER services at San Leandro Hospital, the extra month could have provided precious time for supporters of the hospital to coalesce in the event the hospital's operator, Sutter Health, decides to pull the plug.

Here's a list of Sen. Corbett's end-of-session legislation:

SIGNED INTO LAW

SB 95 This bill will enact the California Car Buyers' Protection Act of 2009. The bill would impose certain requirements when a dealer purchases or obtains a vehicle in trade in a retail sale or lease transaction and the vehicle is subject to a prior credit or lease balance, relating to the discharge of the credit or balance.

SB 117 This bill would modify the aforementioned criteria to, instead, provide that a beneficiary shall be eligible for adult day health care services as a Medi-Cal benefit if he or she meets a specified level of care. Under existing law, participation in an adult day health care program requires prior authorization by the State Department of Health Care Services.

SB 133 This bill authorizes the Alameda County Water District, within described areas of its jurisdiction, to establish a permit program, and to take related action, with regard to the construction, operation, decommissioning, abandonment, or destruction of wells, exploratory holes, or other excavations for the purpose of protecting groundwater.

SB 209 (co-authored by Sen. Jane Harman) This bill will instead require the Certified Access Specialist inspection report to remain confidential and would allow disclosure only to the parties to the action, the parties' attorneys, and others necessary to the involved in the evaluation
and settlement of the case, as specified. The bill would also require the report to remain confidential throughout the stay and until the conclusion of the claim, unless there is
a showing of good cause by any party.

SB 273 This bill changes the definition of domestic violence to mean the infliction or threat of physical harm against past or present adult or adolescent intimate partners, to include physical, sexual, and psychological abuse against the partner, that is a part of a pattern of assaultive, coercive, and controlling behaviors directed at achieving compliance from, or control over, that partner. The bill also makes the department's comprehensive shelter-based service grant program subject to specified anti-discrimination provisions.

SB 320 This bill will additionally except from recognition under the act a foreign-country judgment if a court of this state has determined the judgment includes recovery for a claim of defamation unless the court determines that the defamation law applied by a the foreign
court in adjudicating a claim of defamation does not provide provided at least as much protection for freedom of speech and the press as provided by both the United States and California Constitutions.

SB 470 This bill will require that every prescription include a legible, clear notice of the condition or purpose for which the drug is prescribed, and would delete the requirement that a
patient request the inclusion of that information if requested by the patient . The bill would also require that every prescription container be correctly labeled to include that information if so included indicated on the prescription , and would provide a process for inclusion of that information on the label if it is not included on the prescription and is requested by the patient .

SB 510 This bill will also specify new information to be included in the written disclosure statement provided to the payee prior to executing the transfer agreement. This bill will specify circumstances the court must consider before approving the transfer. This bill will provide that every application for approval of a transfer of structured settlement payment rights shall contain specified information and will also specify notice and disclosure requirements that must be complied with prior to any transfer.

SB 556 (authored by the Senate Judiciary Committee) This bill will require the clerk of the court in a small claims court judgment to charge and collect all fees associated with the enforcement of judgments under the Enforcement of Judgments Law.

VETOED BY GOVERNOR

SB 34 This bill would have provided that it is a misdemeanor for a person to pay or to receive money or any other thing of value based on the number of signatures obtained on a state or local initiative, referendum, or recall petition and would prescribe penalties for doing so . By creating a new crime, the bill would have imposed a state-mandated local program.

SB 196 This bill would have required notice to be provided 120 days prior to the planned
reduction or elimination of the level of emergency medical services, and would have required the notice to also be provided to all employees of the hospital. It would have also required that the hospital provide public notice of, and hold a minimum of 3 public meetings on, the intended change in a manner that is likely to reach a significant number of residents of the community served by the facility.

SB 305 This bill would have defined "most vulnerable Category 2 building" for purposes of the provisions require the Office of the State Architect, within its existing resources, to update the seismic safety inventory of school buildings and related report to more accurately identify building deficiencies in school facilities currently being used for public school purposes.

SB 400 This bill would have deemed any article that can provide inhaled doses of nicotine by delivering a vaporized solution a drug under these provisions. By expanding the definition of an existing crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

SB 641 Among other things, the bill would have required the Board of Governors of the State Bar to charge an annual membership fee to active members of up to $315 for the year 2009. This bill would require the board to fix the annual membership fee for active members for 2010 at a sum not to exceed $315.

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