Capitol Alert

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Legislators may have blown the deadline for having a budget in place, but they've hit the road for the summer break.

Well, sort of.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg proclaimed to "cancel" summer recess during yesterday's floor session. But he continued to say that members could go home as long as they can make the trek via plane, train or automobile back to the Capitol in 24 hours or less. So for all intents and purposes, session's out for summer.

Most lawmakers will likely be back in their districts for the holiday weekend, hobnobbing with constituents and making a cameo at the local July Fourth festivities.

But before they left, legislators worked through a flurry of bills, including some targeting a popular holiday weekend activity: drinking.

One bill approved by the Senate and headed to the governor's desk, would increase consequences for adults who knowingly provide alcohol to teens in their home.

Fitting, since the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that the number of emergency room visits nationwide linked to underage drinking nearly doubles over the July Fourth weekend compared to a typical July day.

Under AB 2486, adults who serve booze to underage drinkers at their home could be held liable in civil court for damages suffered by the teens or a third party as a result of the drinking.

The bill's author, Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, said in a statement that the bill "promotes responsible behavior by acting as a deterrent to adults who might otherwise provide alcohol to teens."

Legislation to increase the penalties for repeat DUI offenders also passed a key Senate committee this week. AB 1601, by Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, would allow a judge to suspend for 10 years the license of a driver who has been convicted of three or more drunken driving offenses over a 10-year span.

BIRTHDAY: Sen. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood, turns 58 on Saturday.


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