Gov. Jerry Brown signed a flurry of bills that will take effect in January. (Patrick T. Fallon, Los Angeles Times / July 11, 2012)
By Patrick McGreevy and Michael J. Mishak, Los Angeles Times
July 14, 2012
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown approved a flurry of new laws Friday, including an exception to the ban on texting while driving, an increase in fines for staging bear and rooster fights, and a prohibition against law enforcement officers having sex with arrestees.
They will take effect in January.
Brown announced Friday that he had signed 48 bills. One will permit drivers to dictate, send and listen to text-based communications as long as they do so using technology specifically designed for voice-operated and hands-free operation.
Assemblyman Jeff Miller (R-Corona) introduced the measure to include texting in the hands-free exception that exists for use of a cellphone while driving. The new law, AB 1536, “will allow Californians to communicate safely and responsibly while on the road,” Miller said.
Brown also doubled from $5,000 to $10,000 the maximum fines for people convicted of causing bears, bulls and roosters to fight with other animals or with humans. The same measure raises maximum fines for spectators at the fights from $1,000 to $5,000.
Sen. Bill Emmerson (R-Hemet) primarily wanted to end cockfighting, but bears and bulls are in the same section of existing law.
“Cockfighting is a cruel and inhumane sport that is a growing concern in the inland Southern California region and throughout our state,” said Emmerson, whose bill is SB 1145. “Clearly, our penalties and fines are not stiff enough to prevent this brutal sport from taking place.”
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