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Unless the governor vetoes it, illegal immigrants get drivers licenses and in-state tuition.

Here's how the Legislature's action could affect you

JIM WASSERMAN, Associated Press Writer Saturday, September 15, 2001 Breaking News Sections

(09-15) 12:07 PDT SACRAMENTO (AP) --

True to its colorful tradition of late nights, high-voltage rhetoric and final-week compromises, the California Legislature has wrapped up and gone home for the year, leaving hundreds of newly passed bills in its wake.

As the Capitol settles in for autumn there are new bills to keep California's lights on, bills to keep telemarketers off your phone and bills to ban junk food at elementary school.

These and hundreds more are headed down an office-lined hallway to the dark hardwood desk of Gov. Gray Davis. If he signs them into law, here's what they might mean to you:


* If you're out of it, you'll find monthly unemployment benefits raised from $230 to $450 across the next three years.

* If you're a new doctor who practices in areas with doctor shortages, the state will forgive your student loans.

* Law graduates who go into public interest law will get up to $11,000 to pay off their student loans.

* If you're a state employee, your health plan will cover costs of an AIDS vaccine if it becomes available.

* State court workers will get the Cesar Chavez state holiday.

* If you work as a day laborer in construction, the contractor will be your official employer, not the temporary agency that sent you there. If you get hurt, the contractor pays your workers compensation.

* Shepherds who tend California's flocks will be paid more and get the same working conditions that most workers enjoy: 10 minutes off for every four hours of work and tools provided by the employer.


* If you buy a handgun, you will have to offer your identification, take a written test and do a safe-handling demonstration for a safety certificate. Then you have to renew it in five years.


* The state will check out the brain power of students in high school's class of 2004 -- currently set to be the first to be required to pass an impending graduation test. If it finds problems, the class may get to skip the test.

* Immigrant students who lack citizenship papers will qualify for in-state tuition at state colleges if they graduated or spent three years in a California high school.

* Children who like junk food won't find any at school. Candy-machine snacks will be banned at elementary schools alongside a middle-school ban on sodas until after lunch.

* Schools with the state's lowest test scores will get $200 million to do something about it.

* Fans of Los Angeles' Belmont Learning Center will get $800,000 in state funds to study cleanup possibilities and potential uses for the partially built $170 million site.

* The community college system may not take a $98 million budget cut after all. Legislators restored what the governor cut earlier this year.


* For fans of coastal oaks in Northern California, there's $3.5 million to save them from sudden oak death.

* Park lovers will have a chance soon to vote up $2.6 billion in park bonds.


* If police arrest you for carjacking, burglarizing a house or arson, you will provide a DNA sample to a DNA databank.

* If you leave your toddler in the car in hot weather with the engine running or the keys inside it will cost you $100 or land you in a community program.

* If you're a trouble-making death row inmate at crowded San Quentin prison, you may be transferred to the state's new prison at Folsom.


* If you have credit cards, your monthly bill must tell you the time and cost of paying it off by making only minimum payments.

* Elderly homeowners worried about scams will find a crackdown on firms that offer home refinancing and equity loans to seniors at higher costs than for younger people.


* People who dislike telephone sales pitches can add themselves to a state "do not call" list. It costs $1 for three years and solicitors who call can be fined $500 the first time and $1,000 after that.

* Feeling shaky about your old house since the Northridge and Loma Prieta earthquakes? With 1,000 homeowners already served, the Department of Insurance has grant and loan funds to do seismic retrofits on another 1,100 houses.

* If you own substandard apartments in Los Angeles County, you'll be placed on a registry for three years so authorities can fine you for code violations.

* People who own land where tenants manufactured methamphetamine have to disclose large releases of chemicals to potential buyers.

* If you buy a new house in a 500-home or larger subdivision, it will have a legally identified source of water.

* Residents of older neighborhoods blighted by junky vacant lots will find their city halls empowered to get them cleaned up and get something built on them.


* If you vote, the state promises to count your vote so the presidential election mess in Florida last November doesn't happen here.

* If you like your state legislator or your representative in Congress, you may have to adjust to a new one. One of the Legislature's biggest deals drew new district boundaries to reflect 10 years of California's growth - and added a new congressional seat.

* If voting in your county is a medieval experience, it could improve with a $200 million bond issue going on the ballot to help counties pay for updated equipment.


* Gay and elderly couples who register with the state as domestic partners will find their legal rights expanded. They will be able to recover damages from wrongful deaths, adopt children of the partner and make health care decisions for an incapacitated partner.

* Asian and Pacific Islanders are the focus of a new anti-hate crime program in the state Department of Justice.


* Watch for an eventual replacement of the Bay Bridge's eastern section and retrofitting for four other Bay Area bridges. Legislators put up $2.1 billion for the work.

* There's big interest in people who drive and talk on their cell phones. The Highway Patrol will study car phones and other driver distractions.

* If you're one of 1.5 million immigrants who have applied for citizenship, you can use the application form and your taxpayer identification number to get a California driver's license.

* People who drive Interstate 8 through El Cajon in San Diego County will find a stretch named the Donna P. Mauzy Freeway, honoring a police officer killed June 23 by a drunken driver.