The two similar bills, SB 386 by Sen. Steven Glazer (D-Orinda) and AB 725 by Asm. Marc Levine (D-Marin County) were among five vetoes issued by the governor Friday.
The veto messages were vintage Jerry Brown. He called the proposals too broad and the fines too excessive. “If people can’t smoke even on a deserted beach,” the governor wrote, “where can they? There must be some limit to the coercive power of government.”
Brown also vetoed two tax break measures – AB 778 by Asm. Anna Caballero (D-Salinas), which would have re-established a tax credit intended to spur economic development and affordable housing in low-income communities; and SB 289 by Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), which would have allowed tribal residents to not pay state income taxes on money earned from within tribal land.
The governor called the bills “an end run” around California’s budget process that would have cost the state a combined $8 million over the next two years.
Meanwhile, Brown signed more than 20 measures, including one that reduces the penalty for intentionally transmitting HIV to another person from a felony to a misdemeanor to make it the same as the penalty for intentionally transmitting any other disease.
Backers say California’s decades-old laws are so strict that they discourage people from getting tested for HIV – and therefore increase chances of spreading the virus. But critics called the bill absurd and argued it would put Californians in danger.
The governor also approved an overhaul of California’s sex offender registry. Unlike the current mandatory lifetime registration, the new system will have three tiers, based on a crime’s severity: 10 years, 20 years, or life. Offenders in the first two tiers could petition a court for removal from the registry at the end of their terms.
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