I. Criminal Justice Legislation
One issue in criminal justice that remained unresolved in 2008 was the prison health care issue. On February 14, 2006, the United States District Court in the case of Plata v. Schwarzenegger (No. C01-01351-TEH) suspended the exercise of authority by the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation related to the administration, control, management, operation, and financing of the California prison medical health care system and vested those powers in a Medical Care Receiver appointed by the court commencing on April 17, 2006, until further order of the court. Those powers include assessing the suitability of existing medical care facilities and the design and construction of upgrades or replacement facilities. The Medical Care Receiver, in consultation with the court and the Special Master in Coleman v. Schwarzenegger (No. CIV S-90-00520-LKK-JFM), determined that it was necessary to immediately design and construct improvements to existing facilities and to design and construct health-related facilities and housing for approximately 10,000 inmates with medical or mental health needs, and supporting infrastructure and ancillary facilities at existing prison facilities statewide or at other appropriate state-owned real property to provide the constitutionally appropriate level of health care for inmates in correctional facilities statewide. It is intended that implementation of these efforts is to assist in compliance matters related to the cases Plata v. Schwarzenegger (No. C01-01351-TEH), Coleman v. Schwarzenegger (No. CIV S-90-00520-LKK-JFM), Perez v. Tilton (No. C05-05241 JSW), and Armstrong v. Schwarzenegger (No. C94-02307-CW). In July 2008, U.S. District Judge Felton Henderson named University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law Professor Clark Kelso as the new federal receiver overseeing health care for California prisons. Kelso replaced Robert Sillen, who served in that role since April 2006. Kelso came to the California Prison Health Care Receivership with more than 15 years of experience in a wide variety of positions in all three branches of state government, including the California Judicial Council and Administrative Office of the Courts, where he worked in support of court unification; the Department of Insurance, where he replaced Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush, who abruptly resigned amid allegations of corruption; and as California’s Chief Information Officer, where he turned around the state’s troubled information technology program. Legislation in 2008, SB 1665 (Machado) and AB 1189 (Solorio) would have provided $6.9 million in revenue bonds and $100 million in General Fund monies for the prison health care construction project. However, these pieces of legislation were stalled due to opposition of those who felt it was premature to provide more monies to Corrections in light of AB 900 (Solorio) which was signed into law providing $7.4 billion in lease-revenue bonds for the construction of 40,000 new state prison beds and 13,000 new county jail beds. In June 2008, Kelso requested that the Governor bypass the State Legislature with the defeat of SB 1665 by the State Senate, and issue bonds to build seven inmate health centers around the state to house 10,000 mentally ill inmates. The prison receiver based his request on a U.S. Appellate Court decision that upheld the Governor’s power to bypass the Legislature when public safety is at risk. In that decision, the Court upheld the Governor’s 2006 emergency order to send as many as 8,000 inmates to private prisons in other states. A judge could order the $8 billion to be taken directly from the State Treasury if the receiver doesn’t get his way. Kelso wants $250 million immediately as a down payment. On Monday, October 27th, U.S. District Judge Felton Henderson said he would proceed with a contempt-of-court hearing against the Administration for not providing the money sought by the court-appointed receiver. The State of California states the court cannot simply seize that money and, instead, must negotiate with lawmakers. It is being argued by the state that the receiver’s request for money, and any payment order from the judge, would violate a 1995 federal law designed to limit federal judges’ power in inmates rights’ cases. The Prison Litigation Reform Act prohibits judges from ordering states to build prisons in the state and indicated that it also applies to the court-appointed receiver. The State of California also states Kelso has failed to show that his plan would be the least intrusive means necessary to bring medical care up to constitutional standards, as required by the 1995 law. Judge Henderson responded the federal law in question is outweighed by the fact that prisoners are dying because of poor care. At the time of this writing, Judge Henderson has ordered the state to pay the $250 million payment or face a contempt hearing.
Another issue which remains unresolved and will be a subject for discussion is the reform of the California Sentencing Law.
One issue that was resolved in 2008 was giving law enforcement new tools to combat metal thieves stealing scrap metals from fire hydrants, utilities, manhole covers, agricultural equipment, guardrails and much more.
Metal theft has created serious impacts in all parts of state: Central Valley farmers have lost crops due to irrigation pumps being stripped of wiring, a toxic chemical spill in San Pablo Bay was the result of a $10 brass valve being stolen from a storage tank and a home burnt to the ground in the City of Hesperia because the fire department was not able to connect to the fire hydrant to put out the fire.
The Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law the following legislation: SB 447 (Maldonado) assisting local law enforcement officials in quickly investigating stolen metal and apprehending thieves by requiring scrap metal dealers and recyclers to report what materials are being scrapped at their facilities and by whom on a daily basis. These rules already apply to pawn shop dealers; SB 601 (Calderon) requiring recyclers to take thumbprints of individuals selling copper, copper alloys, aluminum and stainless steel. Sellers must also show a government ID and proof of their current address. Recyclers who break the law face suspension or revocation of their business license and increased fines and jail time; AB 844 (Berryhill) putting an end to a pattern of quick cash for metal thieves by requiring recyclers to hold payment for three days, check a photo ID and take a thumbprint of anyone selling scrap metals. It also requires anyone convicted of metal theft to pay restitution for the materials stolen and for any collateral damage caused during the theft; and AB 1850 (Adams) discouraging the theft of fire hydrant fittings and fire department connections by creating a fine of not more than $3,000 for any person who knowingly receives any part of a fire hydrant, including bronze or brass fittings and parts.
Criminal justice/law enforcement legislation that was chaptered into law included: SB 28 (Simitian) banning the use of text messaging devices by drivers; SB 31 (Simitian) making it a misdemeanor to intentionally read another’s identification document; SB 129 (Kuehl) expanding the scope of the current crime of making two or more phone calls or electronic communications with the intent to annoy; SB 610 (Corbett) specifying that the start of a felony prosecution begins when the defendant is arraigned; SB 612 (Simitian) allowing the crime of identity theft to be tried in the victim’s county of residence; SB 640 (Simitian) exempting claims for childhood sexual abuse against a local public entity, arising out of conduct occurring on or after 1/1/09, from the Tort Claims Act; SB 1116 (Alquist) restructuring the California High Technology Crime Advisory Committee; SB 1126 (Cedillo), permitting the collection of damages in a gang nuisance damages action from the assets of the gang or gang members; SB 1140 (Steinberg) enhancing the protections of the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act; SB 1169 (Runner) extending the sunset date on the Inmate Health Care and Medical Provider Fair Pricing Working Group; SB 1187 (Battin) requiring individuals convicted of felony child pornography to be placed on the online Megan’s Law list of sex offenders; SB 1190 (Oropeza) reducing, from 0.20 % to 0.15%, the blood alcohol level which triggers heightened consideration by the court to order installation of an ignition interlock device; SB 1236 (Padilla) extending the sunset on provisions of law relative to the penalty assessment that a county may elect to impose on all criminal violations for the purpose of supporting emergency medical services until 2014; SB 1250 (Yee) requiring the Department of Juvenile Facilities to notify families if their child has a medical emergency or attempts suicide; SB 1261 (Cox) consolidating statutory provisions pertaining to the operation of work programs for wards committed to the Department of Juvenile Facilities and inmates in adult facilities; SB 1302 (Cogdill) mandating stronger probation standards for persons found guilty of continuous sexual abuse against children; SB 1343 (Battin) allowing elderly or dependent adults to be given the opportunity to have a support person with them during witness testimony for elder abuse cases; SB 1356 (Yee) exempting domestic violence victims who refuse to testify against their abuser from being punished with incarceration as a result; SB 1509 (Lowenthal) enacting new misdemeanor assault and battery crimes applicable when the victim is a Caltrans employee or contractor; SB 1531 (Correa) enhancing the training that law enforcement needs to recognize and interact with autistic persons; SB 1546 (Runner) permitting the Department of Mental Health to contract with independent professionals to perform the initial evaluation of an inmate for possible civil commitment as a sexually violent predator; SB 1638 (Alquist) ensuring that youth in custody receive appropriate education instructional support; SB 1666 (Calderon) expanding the area of a safe school zone, from 1,000 to 1,500 feet, from a school and making safe school zone laws applicable to private schools as well as public schools; SB 1701 (Romero) extending the sunset date for two years for which a court may impose the lower, middle, or upper term of imprisonment; SB 1770 (Padilla) extending the sunset on the Reproductive Rights Law Enforcement Act until 2014; AB 186 (Maze) extending the sunset on the Central Valley Rural Crime Prevention Program by three years; AB 225 (Beall) enhancing the statute governing the issuance of protective orders under the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act; AB 259 (Adams) making it a misdemeanor for someone to sell or distribute to a minor of the plant salvia divinorum; AB 352 (Solorio) expanding the existing prohibition against openly displaying or exposing any imitation firearm in a public place to include displaying on grounds of a public school; AB 439 (Ma), amending the law mandating that interest earned on inmate trust funds deposited in the Inmate Welfare Fund to instead be distributed to individual inmate accounts; AB 499 (Swanson) creating a pilot project in Alameda County to divert sexually exploited minors accused of soliciting an act of prostitution into supervised counseling and treatment programs; AB 534 (Smyth) creating a misdemeanor for any person to publish information describing or depicting the physical appearance of a child, the location of a child, or location where children may be found with the intent that another person imminently use the information to commit a crime against a child; AB 717 (Fuller) expanding provisions of law under which crime victims may be awarded compensation by the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board; AB 837 (Feuer) making conforming changes related to the Attorney General determination and reporting of the status of applicants for firearms; AB 919 (Houston) creating within currently existing statute a definition for online harassment that includes the incitement of a third party to do the harassment; AB 1141 (Anderson) placing khat (parts of the plant Catha Edulis) and cathinone in Schedule II of the controlled substances schedules; AB 1158 (Benoit) permitting conditional examinations to be done by a contemporaneous, two-way video conference system when the court determines that the witness is so sick or infirm as to be unable to participate in the examination in person; AB 1172 (Runner) increasing specified notification requirements related to sexually violent predators; AB 1278 (Lieber) providing additional procedural tools to combat the crime of human trafficking; AB 1394 (Krekorian) modifying the system of penalties and fines related to criminal counterfeit trademark infringement; AB 1424 (Davis), giving judges the discretion to issue stay-away orders in misdemeanor elder abuse cases; AB 1767 (Ma) permitting a pilot project to be done in San Francisco that provides that community service is to be done through graffiti abatement; AB 1771 (Ma) permitting a court in a domestic violence case to consider the underlying nature of the offense charged in determining whether good cause exists to issue a protective order, as specified; AB 1859 (Adams) discouraging individuals from stealing fire hydrant fittings and fire department connections; AB 1864 (DeVore), reducing the time a person has to claim personal funds or property once he/she leaves the Department of Juvenile Facilities, from seven years to three years; AB 1877 (Adams) providing potential penalties for unwarranted disclosure of child custody evaluations; AB 1923 (Anderson) making it a misdemeanor for any person housed in a local correctional facility who possesses a handcuff key without authorization; AB 1976 (Benoit) increasing the penalties for making a non-emergency 911 call; AB 2043 (Spitzer) authorizing the construction of the California Crime Victims Memorial in the Capitol Historic Region; AB 2068 (Aghazarian) giving law enforcement the necessary tools to notify crime victims after service of process that an order or injunction was served; AB 2092 (De La Torre) providing that the dismissal of an accusation or information underlying a conviction that prohibits a person from holding office as a result of that conviction does not permit that person to hold office; AB 2098 (Krekorian) making it a misdemeanor to buy, sell, process, or butcher meat or products of a nonambulatory animal for human consumption; AB 2100 (Wolk) requiring local ombudspersons and local law enforcement agencies to immediately report cases of known elder abuse in long-term care facilities; AB 2125 (Price) requiring juvenile foster plans to assess job training services; AB 2131 (Niello) protecting peace officer canine units against discrimination in accessing public transportation/accommodations when traveling outside their jurisdiction; AB 2193 (Tran), establishing the Interstate and International Depositions and Discovery Act; AB 2245 (Soto) permitting illegal dumping control officers to carry a wooden club or baton; AB 2289 (Runner), permitting the Departments of Corrections and Rehabilitation to provide juvenile offender information to crime victims regardless of the offender’s commitment offense; AB 2296 (Mullin) enacting the Researchers Protection Act of 2008; AB 2289 (Runner) permitting the Departments of Corrections and Rehabilitation to provide juvenile offender information to crime victims regardless of the offender’s commitment offense; AB 2304 (Plescia) protecting the name changes of participants in the Safe at Home program from being published by the court in any public form; AB 2306 (Karnette) extending to January 2020 the sunset on the provision allowing a writ of habeas corpus to be brought where battered women’s syndrome was not admitted at trial but would have been relevant if it had been admitted; AB 2337 (Beall) adding drug and alcohol counselors to the list of mandated reporters for the purpose of the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act; AB 2405 (Arambula) imposing a $250 fee on people convicted of specified domestic violence offenses to fund domestic violence prevention programs that focus on assisting immigrants, refugees, or persons who live in rural areas; AB 2410 (Nava) creating victim and witness confidentiality requirements in sexually violent predator civil proceedings similar to requirements in criminal proceedings; AB 2470 (Karnette) curbing the use of BB guns, stun guns, and similar weapons on all California Colleges and University campuses; AB 2553 (Solorio) requiring the court to provide its reason for denying a petition for an ex parte order enjoining harassment, threats, and violence; AB 2606 (Emmerson) increasing the fees for district attorney bad check diversion programs; AB 2609 (Davis) emphasizing that the court shall, when appropriate, order a defendant who is granted probation for a graffiti conviction to clean up the graffiti or to keep the site free from graffiti; AB 2618 (Solorio) making available to county welfare and adoption agencies information regarding known or suspected child abusers contained in the Child Abuse Index; AB 2737 (Feuer) permitting a court to order the withdrawal of blood from an arrestee when a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency personnel who, while acting within the scope of his/her duties, is exposed to a bloodborne pathogen; AB 2750 (Krekorian) permitting a court to order persons convicted of specified crimes relating to music piracy to pay restitution to persons who have suffered economic loss as a result of the illegal activity; AB 2802 (Houston) requiring persons convicted of a prior driving under the influence within 10 years to attend an alcohol driver treatment program; AB 2809 (Leno) permitting a minor who suffers emotional injury as a direct result of witnessing a violent crime to be eligible for reimbursement for the costs of outpatient mental health counseling if the minor was in close proximity to the victim when he or she witnessed the crime; AB 2810 (Brownley) granting victims of human trafficking specified rights; AB 2827 (Runner) defining defrauding a public housing authority program of more than $400 as a separate form of grand theft in a stand-alone section of the Penal Code; AB 2949 (DeSaulnier) requiring a person who discovers an abandoned animal within a foreclosed-upon home to contact animal control for the purpose of retrieval and care; AB 2960 (La Malfa) ensuring that courts consider sexual abuse of children when determining whether or not to issue an order granting or modifying custody on an ex parte basis; AB 2973 (Soto) creating restrictions involving the acquisition, sale, or use of less lethal weapons; AB 3038 (Tran) permitting disclosure of the identity of a sex offense victim for purposes of an investigation by the probation department, not only for pre-sentence reports; and AB 3051 (Jones) providing children subject to dependency hearings a greater opportunity to attend and participate in their hearings.
Vetoed criminal justice/law enforcement legislation of note included: SB 364 (Simitian) requiring that a notice required under California’s data security breach law must contain specified information; SB 1022 (Steinberg) permitting a person to have his/her name removed from the Department of Justice’s Child Abuse Central Index if the person was under the age of 18 at the time of the suspected incident and the incident did not result in a delinquency adjudication or a criminal conviction; SB 1171 (Scott) creating distinctions between a loaded firearm on one’s person or in a vehicle in unincorporated and incorporated cities in public places, public streets, public roads, and public highways; SB 1253 (Alquist) requiring the State Authorized Risk Assessment Tool for Sex Offenders Training Committee to monitor the consistency and quality of risk assessments; SB 1589 (Romero) providing a court may not convict a defendant, find a special circumstance true, or use a fact in aggravation based solely on the uncorroborated testimony of an in-custody informant; AB 360 (Carter) incorporating restorative justice principles into juvenile justice proceedings consistent with current law; AB 996 (Spitzer) permitting confidential home addresses maintained by Department of Motor Vehicles to be disclosed to a governmental agency when that information is necessary to serve or collect a traffic, parking, toll bridge, or toll road violation; AB 1133 (Dymally) providing that where a defendant is surrendered to custody outside the county of prosecution, exoneration of bail shall be conditioned on payment by the bail or surety of the government costs of extradition; AB 1405 (Maze) limiting use of statements or evidence obtained during a joint assessment from a minor, who is both a ward and a dependent of the court, against the minor in any specified proceeding; AB 1519 (Ma) prohibiting the public commercial display of human remains, as defined, without a permit for each specimen of human remains displayed from the Department of Justice; AB 1751 (Fuentes) authorizing a local government entity to enact a nuisance of a prostitution related offense if the person whose car was impounded has a prior prostitution-related conviction; AB 1769 (Galgiani) exempting community college and school district peace officers from serving as jurors in criminal matters; AB 1852 (Jeffries) changing the penalty for participation in a sport lottery pool from a misdemeanor to an infraction; AB 1975 (Solorio) making permanent Missing Persons DNA Data Base fees and clarifying procedures for identifying human remains; AB 1996 (Swanson) extending eligibility for food stamp benefits to convicted drug felons who distributed controlled substances; AB 2099 (Hancock) providing inmates with identification cards upon their release as a pilot project at several state prisons; AB 2105 (DeSaulnier) expanding the category of mandated reporters for suspected financial elder and dependent adult abuse; AB 2541 (Bass) permitting a superior court to create a deferred entry of judgment reentry program targeted at preventing recidivism among nonviolent, low-level drug sales offenders; AB 2610 (Davis) providing that a local jurisdiction may implement a permitting process for unattended collection boxes, as specified; AB 2671 (Salas) creating a prerelease application process for honorably discharged incarcerated veterans who are eligible for federal and state benefits, especially federal veteran disability compensation and pension payments; AB 2696 (Krekorian) requiring the Department of Justice to participate in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, as specified; and AB 2937 (Solorio) creating a number of remedies for persons who have had their judgment vacated.
In the November 2008 General Election, there were three propositions concerning criminal justice, Propositions 5, 6 and 9. Proposition 5 would have enacted the Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act of 2008 allocating $460 million annually to provide and expand treatment programs for persons convicted of drug and other offenses and limiting the courts authority to incarcerate offenders who commit certain drug crimes, break drug treatment rules or violate parole. (It failed by a vote of 60% no to 40% yes). Proposition 6 would have (1) required a minimum of $965 million each year to be allocated for police, sheriffs, district attorneys, adult probation, and juvenile probation facilities; (2) made 30 revisions in California criminal law; and (3) increased penalties for violating a gang-related injunction and for felons carrying guns. (It failed by a vote of 69.4% no to 30.6% yes.) Lastly, Proposition 9, which passed by a vote of 53.5% to 46.5%, enacts the Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008, Marcy’s Law. Specifically, it (1) requires notification to victim and opportunity for input during phases of criminal justice process, including bail, pleas, sentencing and parole; (2) establishes victim safety as consideration in determining bail or release on parole; (3) increases the number of people permitted to attend and testify on behalf of victims at parole hearings; (4) reduces the number of parole hearings to which prisoners are entitled; (5) requires that victims receive written notification of their constitutional rights; and (6) establishes timelines and procedures concerning parole revocation hearings.
The major piece of legislation in courts that was signed into law as SB 1407 (Perata) providing for $5 billion in lease-revenue bonds to finance new construction and renovation projects for court facilities throughout the state. The state’s court system, made up of 451 trial court facilities, eight appellate court facilities and one Supreme Court facility, is in critical need of new construction, renovation and repair. A significant number of these facilities do not meet current guidelines for efficient and safe court environments and, overall, the facilities are overcrowded with no capacity to handle growth in judicial workload. Because of the lack of courtroom space, 23 court facilities are in trailers, one quarter of courtrooms have no room for a jury, 41% have no way to bring in-custody defendants into courtrooms without using public hallways and 78% do not have adequate access for people with disabilities.
The Administrative Office of the Courts estimates that $9.6 billion is needed to bring California’s court facilities up to safe and secure standards and to accommodate growth. SB 1407 takes a step forward in tackling the most needed projects and improving the safety and efficiency of our courts. It provides the capital to design, construct and rehabilitate our state’s crumbling judicial facilities. The bonds issued under the legislation are supported by court users and do not impact the state’s General Fund.
Other court legislation of note that was chaptered into law was AB 1949 (Evans) improving court operations by (1) updating the law on trial preferences, (2) providing additional time for processing of local court rules, (3) clarifying the definition of subordinate judicial officers and the law governing subordinate judicial officers relocation costs, and (4) clarifying the law pertaining to the payment of civil jury fees and jury deposits by governmental entities; AB 2448 (Feuer) improving the current statutes containing procedures for granting a court fee waiver to a litigant who cannot afford to pay the fee; AB 2803 (Horton) authorizing a court to accept a credit card, debit card, or electronic funds transfer for payment of any court-ordered victim restitution; and AB 8XXX (Assembly Budget Committee) delaying new judgeships for a year to address the 2007-08 budget shortfall.
Vetoed legislation concerning court operations include: SB 1113 (Migden) facilitating courts to awards costs, including expert witness fees, in actions resulting in the vindication of important rights affecting the public interest when the prevailing party satisfies the standard for an award of attorney’s fees in the case; SB 1177 (Ridley-Thomas) increasing civil filing fees to support independent community dispute resolution programs; AB 1569 (Mendoza) providing that a court reporter’s instant visual display of testimony or proceedings is not to be certified and cannot be used, cited, distributed, or transcribed as the official transcript of the proceedings; AB 1725 (Lieu) requiring, rather than permitting, the State Bar Board of Governors to make public a trial court appointee’s “qualified” or “not qualified” rating by the State Bar’s Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission; AB 2095 (Davis) requiring the Governor to post on his/her official web site the names of all persons for whom the Governor or his/her representatives have provided judicial application materials to either assist in the decision of whether to submit an application to the State Bar for evaluation, or to assist in the decision of whether an applicant should be appointed as a judge following evaluation of the applicant by the State Bar; AB 2189 (Karnette) requiring the Court Reporters Board of California to establish continuing education requirements for renewal of a shorthand reporter certificate; AB 3050 (Jones) establishing a pilot program to provide court interpreters in specified civil proceedings; and AB 3052 (Jones) clarifying the Judicial Council’s authority to build new court facilities using performance-based infrastructure agreements
III. Civil Law/Rights
The major civil rights issue that presented itself this year was Proposition 8 on the November General Election ballot enacting the California Marriage Protection Act, which passed, eliminating the right of same sex couples to marry in California. With the passage of Proposition 8, these who opposed it are in the process, at the time of this writing, have filed a lawsuit to have it declared unconstitutional on the basis that it violates an individual’s civil rights. Forty-three legislators have signed a Friend of the Court brief to have Proposition 8 voided, contending that the ban, created by the initiative that defines marriage as being between one man and one woman, cannot be done by a mere constitutional amendment, rather, it must be done by a revision of the entire Constitution and the Legislature would have to be involved. On November 19, 2008, the California State Supreme Court agreed to consider complaints to the opponents of Proposition 8 but declined to stay Proposition 8 enforcement. In the meantime, the Court asked parties involved in the case to write briefs arguing the following issues: (1) Is Proposition 8 invalid because it constitutes a revision of, rather than an amendment to, the California Constitution? (2) Does Proposition 8 violate the separation-of-powers doctrine under the California Constitution? (3) If Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, what is its effect, if any, on the marriages of same-sex couples performed before the adoption of Proposition 8? The Court indicated that oral arguments would be held sometime in March 2009.
Civil law/rights legislation of note chaptered into law include: SB 1264 (Harman) re-establishing new rules and guidelines regarding enforcement of no contest charges; SB 1608 (Corbett) enacting reforms to increase voluntary compliance with long-standing state and federal laws requiring access to the disabled in any place of public accommodations; AB 541 (Huffman) establishing sampling and analysis protocols when determining if there is a breach of contract or seed patent infringement of genetically engineered plants; AB 2052 (Lieu) authorizing a tenant to notify the landlord, in writing, that he/she or a household member was a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stabbing and intends to terminate the tenancy; AB 2193 (Tran) establishing the International Deposition and Discovery Act; AB 2248 (Spitzer) requiring a witness to a will to sign the will within the testators lifetime; AB 2304 (Plescia) protecting participants in the Safe at Home program by prohibiting courts from publishing confidential name change information on the Internet or other public forums; AB 2343 (Caballero) establishing rules for when guardians and public administrators may be appointed by a court to be trustees of a trust and their compensation; AB 2433 (Krekorian) establishing a process by which to challenge the propriety of certain subpoenas; AB 2452 (Davis) expanding the list of satisfying documents that notaries public may rely upon as evidence of a person’s identity; AB 2654 (Laird) conforming miscellaneous code provisions prohibiting discrimination in specific government and business operations to those characteristics already covered by the Unruh Civil Rights Act, the Fair Employment and Housing Act and Government Code Section 11135, which are non-discrimination laws of general application to government operations and business establishments; and AB 2738 (Jones) reforming residential construction contract relationships between builders and subcontractors.
Vetoed legislation of note include SB 1257 (Machado) limiting the information a company or retailer may require as a condition of redeeming a consumer rebate, and adds disclosure and timing requirements, as specified; SB 1691 (Lowenthal) reorganizing and restating the statutory mechanics lien law in order to improve its clarity and visibility; AB 437 (Jones) ensuring that victims of pay discrimination in California have ample opportunity to seek appropriate redress for discrimination; AB 926 (Evans) establishing reasonable procedures for litigants to obtain electronically stored information as part of a discovery demand; AB 1656 (Jones) enhancing the security of financial data that entities retain to help to limit opportunities for data breaches to occur; AB 2874 (Lieber) deleting the $150,000 cap on actual damages that maybe awarded to a complainant by the Fair Employment and Housing Commission against a respondent; and AB 3013 (Levine) allowing a payment lien to be renewed prior to the five year expiration of the lien.
IV. State Bar
The major piece of legislation concerning the State Bar was AB 3049 (Assembly Judiciary Committee), which was signed into law. It authorizes the State Bar of California to collect active membership dues up to $410 for the year 2009, which continues the current active dues amount of $400 and adds a new building fund assessment of up to $10.