New laws signed on prostitution, child car seats

Gov. Jerry Brown signed several bills by Bay Area lawmakers today, including one that lets juveniles convicted of prostitution seal their records without proving they’ve been rehabilitated, and another that aims to boost infant car-seat safety.

AB 2040, by Assemblyman Sandré Swanson, D-Oakland, “provides that an adult who was previously adjudicated to be a ward of the juvenile court because he or she committed a prostitution offense may petition the court to seal the records of the offense, regardless of the person’s criminal record or proof of rehabilitation,” according to the most recent legislative analysis. This relief isn’t available to those minor “johns” who paid or offered to pay a prostitute. The Assembly had passed this bill 49-21, and the state Senate approved it unanimously, 36-0.

AB 1452, by Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo “requires hospitals, clinics, and birthing centers, when discharging a child, to give the parent or the person to whom the child is released specific contact information for organizations that provide assistance with the use, law, and installation of child passenger restraint systems,” the analysis said. The Assembly passed this bill on a 61-14 vote, and the state Senate on a 31-6 vote.

See what other Bay Area bills the governor signed into law today, after the jump…

AB 1517, by Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo: “This bill deletes the July 1, 2013 sunset date on provisions authorizing the Department of General Services (DGS), in lieu of requiring a performance bond on information technology (IT) contracts and requiring the withholding of at least 10% on IT progress payments, to apply lesser withholding levels, as specified, based on the evaluation of risk.”
Assembly, 74-0; Senate 36-0

AB 1540, by Buchanan: “Added the South American spongeplant (spongeplant) to the list of invasive plant species for which DBW (Department of Boating and Waterways) serves as the state lead agency in treatment and control in the Delta, its tributaries, and the Suisun marsh. Authorized DBW, other state agencies, cities, counties and districts to cooperate with one another and with agencies of the United States in controlling spongeplant and to furnish money, services, equipment and other property for that purpose.”
Senate 38-0; Assembly 79-0

AB 1620, by Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont: “Exempts certain hazardous waste management activities from being regulated as treatment if the activity is conducted onsite or at a facility that has obtained a hazardous waste storage permit. Specifically, this bill exempts hazardous waste activities from Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) treatment permits for exhaust gas, flue gas, or other vapor stream, regardless of the source.”
Senate, 36-0; Assembly 78-0

AB 1718, by Hill: “This bill repeals and recasts existing requirements that must be met prior to the licensure of real estate brokers, to provide that the Real Estate Commissioner may grant an original real estate broker license to an applicant who (1) has passed the real estate broker license examination, (2) satisfied other specified requirements, (3) either held a real estate salesperson’s license, or (4) holds an active membership in the State Bar of California or has graduated from a four-year university with a specialization in real estate.”
Assembly, 71-1; Senate 36-0

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Patty O’Day


    I heard that the legislature passed a bill to allow for election day voter registration. I also heard that they are experimenting with online voter registration.

    Can you provide some information on this topic?

    For the record, I am strongly against election day voter registration. I can’t think of any better way to increase voter fraud than by doing that.

    How come the legislature can make this law? How come the voters don’t have to vote on it?

  • Josh Richman

    @#1 – Patty, For Election Day voter registration, you’re referring to AB 1436 by Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-West Hollywood. The state Senate passed it last Thursday on a 23-13 vote; the Assembly had passed it on a 47-26 vote in May, but it now needs a concurrence vote from the Assembly before moving to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

    For online voter registration, that’s been a done deal for quite some time, since Brown signed SB 397 by state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, into law last October. Yee just announced Friday that county elections offices were receiving the software to start implementing the system, which is expected to be available for public use starting early next month – about six weeks before the Oct. 22 registration deadline for the Nov. 6 election.

    The new law provides that citizens will input their voter information online and the county elections office will use the voter’s signature from the Department of Motor Vehicles to verify authenticity; that signature can then be matched against the voter’s signature at the polling place. Yee said signatures at the polling place currently are only compared to the paper registration signature, which potentially allows for greater chance of fraud.

  • Patty O’Day


    Thanks for the info. I still think it is wrong that the legislature decided something so important as same day voter reg. This should have been up to the voters. I am from Wisconsin. They have this same day voter reg and I hear time and time again about the voter fraud in Milwaukee and the rest of the state.

    There is ABSOLUTELY no reason that people can’t register to vote by 30 days before the election.
    This does not go into effect until 2016, right? Good, maybe we can get it on the ballot and have if overturned.

    As far as the online registration, I am not quite as against that as I am the same day voter reg. As long as the forms are verified with DMV, I guess that is the best we can ask for. This is the new millenium, after all.

  • publius

    Pension reform?

  • Elwood

    Pension reform?

    Regulation of flying pigs?

    As long as the legislature and the governor are controlled by the public employee unions, there isn’t a prayer.

    Incidentally,did you know that in the remote chance Jerry Brown’s tax increase passes, all the money goes into the general (slush) fund to be spent at the pleasure of the legislature and the governor?

  • JohnW

    Re: #5

    I’m not for the tax plan. Economic suicide, in my opinion. That said, general taxes such as income and sales taxes SHOULD go to the general fund, not for silo budgeting.

  • JohnW

    Patty O’Day,

    I disagree with you about Election Day registration, although at least one week prior to election day probably makes more sense. Excitement that builds around specific elections is a perfect time to get young people and others motivated to register and become permanent voters. That’s a good thing, in my opinion. Also, in our mobile society, people often find themselves relocating to another city or state shortly before a scheduled election. I’ve personally been in that situation a couple of times. We should make it easy for them to get registered in time to vote.

    This year, I’m far more concerned about what’s happening in Ohio and Pennsylvania, which are blatant and very likely successful efforts to hold down the turnout among legally qualified voters in counties that lean Democratic. If those states end up being decisive in the presidential election, we will know whether or not those voter suppression efforts were the deciding factor in electing Romney. If that turns out to be the case, the uproar will be huge and will completely undermine the moral legitimacy of his administration.

  • Patty O’Day

    #7, Yeah, right. Voter suppression because they are requiring ID to vote. That is the next thing I want to see on California’s ballot. There are so many times that ID is required, insisting that this suppresses the vote is just plain silly.

    On the California Voter Reg Form, It asks if you will be legally elegible to vote on Election Day. Many high school seniors register to vote before they turn 18 because by the time election comes in November, they will be elegible to vote. That is perfectly legal. What is stopping those that move the week before an election from registering in advance?

    Besides, the number of people with this burning problem is so minute in comparison with those people who would/could potentially commit voter fraud.

  • JohnW


    Registration should be as easy and convenient as we can possibly make it, with reasonable precautions to avoid voter registration fraud.

    Damn right it’s voter suppression. Every GOP state, especially swing states, has a strategy as part of this Rove-inspired nationally coordinated effort. It’s not all voter ID. In some cases, it’s eliminating early voting or purging voter rolls. In other cases, they are calling for extra poll watchers to challenge (i.e., intimidate) voters — not in the Republican precincts!

    In 2004, in Ohio, there were extremely long lines in urban precincts (think Cleveland) due to too few machines, causing many who showed up to vote to give up. If Bush had lost Ohio, Kerry would have won the election. Bush won Ohio by 108 thousand votes.

    So, in 2008, they expanded early in-person voting to include the weekend before the election. Everybody who wanted to vote did, and turnout was significantly higher. That’s supposed to be a good thing in a democracy, right?

    So, in 2012, they’ve eliminated weekend-before-election voting. The first version was to keep it in Republican-leaning counties and eliminate it in Democratic-leaning counties. That didn’t fly, for obvious reasons. So, they just eliminated it statewide, knowing it was the Democratic-leaning districts that had the greatest participation.

    In the Texas Voter ID system, University of Texas photo ID doesn’t count, but a gun permit ID does.

    In Pennsylvania, it’s estimated that up to 18% of voters in Philadelphia (people who are registered and have voted previously) don’t have the necessary ID. These are elderly and low income people who don’t own cars and take the bus to work. To get an alternative Voter ID from the drivers license bureau, you need to have a birth certificate (many people don’t have one — think of Michael Orr from the movie, The Blind Side). They can’t just take a day off work to stand in line at DMV, even if they have the necessary documents. Besides, it takes weeks to get a birth certificate, assuming one is on file in the first place.

    If they had put the law into effect for the 2014 election, there would be time to do outreach and give people time to adapt. As it is, the DMV (or Pennsylvania version of it) couldn’t handle all 700 thousand people before Nov. 6 (the estimated number of registered voters without proper ID) even if everybody applied.

    The lead plaintiff in the Pennsylvania court case was a 93-year-old black lady who had been voting there for 60 years. She didn’t have ID or a birth certificate to get one. Because of her high profile in the case, she is being taken care of. But what about tens and hundreds of thousands of other people in her predicament?

    Who’s affected most by all this: minorities, low income elderly people and students? Just a coincidence, right? Go ahead, tell me how this is not the most-un-American thing since literacy tests and poll taxes.

    If this changes the outcome of the 2012 election, I hate to think how much justifiable outrage will result.

  • Elwood

    “the uproar will be huge and will completely undermine the moral legitimacy of his administration.”

    “If this changes the outcome of the 2012 election, I hate to think how much justifiable outrage will result.”

    You need to relax, John. Take a few deep breaths.

    So I suppose if Romney wins Ohio and Pennsylvania, no matter how large the margin, you and other lunatic liberals will all scream together in a chorus of “voter suppression”.

    Back off there, Don Quixote, it’s only a windmill.

  • JohnW

    Elwood, If Romney wins, I hope it is a decisive, clean victory so that we won’t have that type of controversy. But I am truly as worked up over this issue as my comments indicate. I’m not saying all this just to be argumentative.

    If Romney wins and it is a narrow win that can be traced specifically to counties affected by these laws, experts will do a deep dive into the numbers. They will look at the voter turnout compared with prior elections and the margin of victory by county and precinct. It will be easy to determine what happened.

    The average citizen is asleep at the wheel on this right now. But, if the worst happens, they will wake up fast and won’t like what they hear. The narrow Ohio margin for Bush in 2004 didn’t track with exit polls and coincided with what many people felt were manufactured voting obstacles in key precincts. The only reason it didn’t blow up into a crisis is that John Kerry decided not to pursue it, much like Nixon chose not to pursue the Chicago and Texas issues in 1960.

    I can’t “relax” on this one. Probably like some others who comment here, I grew up when people were being driven down country roads and shot for helping other people register and exercise their constitutional right to vote. All my life, the name of the game has been to get more people to vote by making it easier to register and by removing obstacles to actually voting. Now, we’re passing laws restricting legitimate voter registration drives and discouraging certain people from voting by creating reasonable-sounding hoops (Voter ID) to jump through that really are anything but benign.

    Frankly, I don’t know how the people who are organizing all this can look at themselves in the mirror.

  • Patty O’Day

    #9- Get real. 18% of Pennsylvania voters don’t have proper ID. Tens of hundreds of people. Seriously. If you ask me, Pennsylvania has a serious problem.

    And regarding these poor, “low income people who don’t own cars and take the bus to work”- please explain to me how they were able to complete their I-9 form in order to obtain employment if they do not have proper ID.

    I had lost my birth certificate, so I had to order a new one. Are you trying to tell me that tens of hundreds of people in Pennsylvania can’t figure out how to do that? If they are that stupid, they shouldn’t be voting in the first place.

    All these old people that you say don’t have ID,just exactly how are they able to get Social Security Benefits?

    You are implying that the ID laws would vary from county to county. If that is the case, then I would agree that would be wrong. I thought, however, that voter registration laws were statewide.

  • JohnW

    First, it’s about 18% in Philadelphia, about 9% statewide. Those statistics were compiled by the state Dept of Transportation by cross-checking their data base with voter registration/active voter data. That’s 758,000 people statewide. Hopefully, when all is said and done, that number won’t be as big as that.

    I don’t know the answers to all your questions about the I-9’s, applying for Social Security etc. But, if people lack the photo ID, even if they already have a “raised seal” birth certificate, many will just not bother to vote if they have to take a bus or taxi to go wait in line at a DOT location that may be miles away to get government issued photo ID. This especially goes for those who don’t have a raised seal birth certificate and have to allow weeks of lead time and pay a fee to get one. Even without this kind of hassle, half of registered voters don’t bother to vote. By the way, don’t you need a photo ID to get a birth certificate? Catch 22!

    “If they are that stupid, they shouldn’t be voting in the first place.” We all have our opinions about people we think are too stupid, ill-informed or warped to vote and would rather they just stay home. However, there is no such test under the Constitution.

    Fact is, all these new laws are being pushed through in GOP-controlled states in order to make an impact on the 2012 election. Although the studies show that in-person voter fraud is virtually non-existent, I could almost sympathize with the laws if they were being passed primarily in states where voting by illegal immigrants was a potential concern. You know, because if you’re illegal and trying to stay under the radar, one thing you’re sure to do is risk exposure by going out and committing voter fraud!

    Ohio and Pennsylvania don’t fall into that category. Elderly voters who have lived and voted in the same location for many years hardly pose a voter fraud issue. But let’s be blunt. Two different strategies. Voter ID in PA, and eliminating weekend early voting in OH. The real goal is to hold down the black vote, because too many of those people had the audacity to come out and vote for Obama in 2008. Can’t have that happen again, can we? The strategy is to capture at least 61% of the white vote and keep the non-white vote down as much as possible. Makes you proud to be an American, huh?

    As the Pennsylvania state House Majority Leader said, when listing his legislative accomplishments during a speech to a GOP group: “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania — Done!” Wow! He’s really proud of himself.

    Guess, when the Tea Party said they want to “take back our country,” they weren’t kidding.

  • Elwood

    Man, that voter ID is really terrible!

    Let’s see now, you need ID to buy a six-pack, use a credit card or get on an airplane.

    But you can walk into a polling place and say “Hello, I’m Johnny ****head and I’m here to vote!”

    Voter ID? I’m outraged!

  • JohnW

    “Man, that voter ID is really terrible.”

    First, Voter ID is only one component of the voter suppression effort, along with shutting down voter registration drives and other initiatives.

    Second, do the math. The Bush Administration spent five years on a voter fraud “crackdown.” They found zero organized fraud, charged 120 individuals and convicted 86. That’s out of 146 million registered voters, with none of the convictions involving in-person voter impersonation (the kind of thing Voter ID is supposed to prevent). You can fact-check me on the last point about no voter impersonation cases, but I’m pretty sure that’s accurate.

    Third, a Carnegie-Knight investigative reporting unit looked into 2,068 alleged cases in 50 states from 2000 to 2012 and found only ten cases of alleged voter impersonation cases. They found nearly all cases of so-called fraud had to do with voter registration and absentee ballots, which have nothing to do with Voter ID. Even there, 46% of prosecuted cases ended in acquittal or dropped charges; and many involved honest mistakes by either voters or election officials.

    So, the question is, why, just months ahead of an important national election, would you create red tape that could reduce voter turnout by hundreds of thousands or even millions nationwide to prevent a tiny handful of possible voter impersonation incidents? Why wouldn’t you say, “Okay, we don’t seem to have a real problem, but let’s still tighten up on voter identification anyway, but do it carefully and in a reasonable time frame so that we don’t inadvertently disenfranchise a million eligible voters to prevent ten scattered cases?”

    Answer: to win in 2012 by holding down the black vote in swing states. This is politically motivated, not racially motivated. But the effect is the same as Jim Crow.