Governor Jerry Brown solidified a place in history this past weekend, signing several monumental bills into law in California. Below are some highlights:
SB 9: For inmates serving life-without-parole sentences for murders committed when they were minors, SB 9 gives them a second chance. Approximately 309 inmates in California will be able to request reduced sentences once they have served 15 years in prison. Judges will have the option of reducing those sentences to 25-to-life. See the Senate’s news release here.
SB 1172: This Senate bill bars state licensed therapists from pursuing sexual orientation “conversion therapy” with LGBT minors, even in cases where the parents want their children to undergo such treatment. In signing this legislation, Governor Brown made California the first state to protect LGBT youths from the practice, effective January 1, 2013. Conservative groups are planning to sue in federal court to prevent the law from taking effect, according to ABC News.
SB 1221: In enacting this legislation, California has become the 15th state to prohibit hunters from using dogs to hound bears and bobcats. The practice is not only considered to be cruel to the bears but can also be harmful to the dogs when the bears opt to fight back (rather than climb up a tree in fear). Read the full text of the bill here.
AB 2109: This bill applies to children who opt out of vaccinations, requiring signed statements from parents and physicians. Supporters feel that the bill helps to inform and protect, whereas opponents feel that it restricts parental rights. The Governor’s signing message is available through his official website, here.
AB 2189: Under this law, certain undocumented immigrants will be eligible to receive California driver licenses. Eligibility is tied to the new federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, wherein students or ex-military with relatively clean criminal records may remain in the country for two years (subject to renewal). For more information on Deferred Action, visit the USCIS website: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis.
The Governor perhaps faces the greatest controversy over bills he did not sign. Stay tuned next week for a recap of the legislation he vetoed!