By Compiled by Dan Smith, Capitol Bureau chief
Published: Saturday, Sep. 17, 2011 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Saturday, Sep. 17, 2011 – 9:20 am

Here’s a look at a few of the approximately 600 bills on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, the vast majority authored by Democrats who control the Legislature. Brown has until Oct. 9 to act.

HEALTH

Needle exchange

AB 604 (Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley)

What it would do: Allow the state Department of Public Health to authorize a needle-exchange program in any city or county where it determines that conditions exist for rapid spread of HIV, viral hepatitis or other potentially deadly or disabling infections.

Analysis: The lobbying battle pits supporters ­ AIDS activists, other health care advocates and the nurses union ­ against cities and a smattering of law enforcement groups. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed similar efforts.

Chemical ban

AB 1319 (Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, D-Marina del Rey)

What it would do: Ban the chemical BPA ­ bisphenol A ­ from baby bottles, sippy cups and other food and beverage containers intended for children ages 3 and younger.

Analysis: Doctors, nurses and environmental groups pushed the bill, arguing that safer alternatives exist, while business and manufacturing groups say the chemical is safe as now used.

Epilepsy medication

SB 161 (Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar)

What it would do: Allow school districts to let nonmedical school employees who volunteer and receive training to administer anti-seizure medication to epileptic students.

Analysis: School districts pushed the bill, citing a dwindling number of on-site school nurses. The nurses union and others in organized labor fought the bill, arguing that the medication, which is given rectally, should be administered only by licensed medical personnel.

Autism coverage

SB 166 (Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento) What it would do: Require health insurance policies to cover certain autism early intervention behavioral therapy.

Analysis: Autism advocates said the bill ensures that autistic children will get treatment, while insurers and health plans say the mandate will drive up costs for policyholders. Steinberg exempted publicly funded health plans ­ Medi-Cal, Healthy Families and plans that cover state employees ­ which lowers the public cost and may make it more attractive to Brown.

Tanning beds

SB 746 (Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance)

What it would do: Prohibit children under 18 years old from using tanning beds.

Analysis: California would be the first state in the nation to ban minors from fake baking. Brown will weigh health arguments from doctors, nurses and the American Cancer Society against the tanning industry, which argues the current law ­ requiring parental consent for tanners between ages 14 and 18 ­ is working.

LAW AND ORDER

Open carry

AB 144 (Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada-Flintridge)

What it would do: Criminalize openly carrying an unloaded handgun in public. The bill exempts peace officers, military gatherings, gun shows and hunting.

Analysis: The measure, pushed by law enforcement and opposed by gun rights groups, targets the “open carry” movement, marked by gatherings of people displaying their firearms in public places to protest gun-control laws.

Sobriety checkpoints

AB 353 and AB 1389 (Assemblymen Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles and Mike Allen, D-Santa Rosa)

What they would do: AB 353 restricts local police from impounding cars at sobriety checkpoints solely because a driver is unlicensed. AB 1389 defines how sobriety checkpoints are to be conducted in line with a California Supreme Court decision.

Analysis: Both bills seek to stop what some see as a money-making scheme by some small cities, which use sobriety checkpoints to impound thousands of cars from unlicensed low-income drivers who can’t afford to retrieve them. Law enforcement groups and Mothers Against Drunk Driving oppose AB 1389.

Rifle sales records

AB 809 (Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles)

What it would do: Require the state to keep records of rifle sales, as it does now for handguns.

Analysis: Police and gun control advocates say the measure, which would take effect in January 2014, would increase public safety by informing law enforcement of what guns they may face at a crime scene. Opponents say it would accomplish little because criminals do not comply with gun registration rules.

Cellphones in prisons

SB 26 (Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles)

What it would do: Toughen restrictions on inmates having cellphones inside prisons and prescribe a six-month sentence and a fine up to $5,000 for smuggling a cell phone into a prison.

Analysis: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar version of this bill last year, saying it was too soft on inmates who have cellphones and prison guards and others who smuggle them.

LABOR

Child-care providers

AB 101 (Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles) What it would do: Allow unions to organize child-care providers who work out of the home and handle subsidized clients.

Analysis: The bill was pushed by two large unions: Service Employees International Union and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, vetoed similar legislation four times, noting that it would increase the state’s costs of providing child care.

Alcohol and self-checkout lanes

AB 183 (Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco) What it would do: Prohibit grocery stores from selling beer, wine or liquor using electronic self-checkout lanes.

Analysis: The bill was pushed by the grocery clerks’ union and police chiefs, who argued that it would help stop underage drinking. Business groups and grocers opposed the measure, noting that clerks oversee alcohol sales at self-checkout lanes now. They said the bill was motivated by the clerks’ union trying to stop Fresh & Easy, a nonunion chain that uses only staff-supervised self-checkout lanes. Farmworkers

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