Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

Brown_signing_bills.JPGWith the new session only weeks away, there has been a flurry of announcements for bills that legislators plan to introduce next year. Here are a few of the most interesting:

State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, wants to require the implementation of "kill switches" that would render smartphones inoperable if they are stolen. According to the Federal Communications Commission, cell phone thefts account for about 30 to 40 percent of robberies nationwide — and more than 50 percent in San Francisco.

Livestock and poultry producers commonly use antibiotics to make their animals grow bigger and faster. Following the release of federal guidelines by the Food and Drug Administration, state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, is proposing legislation that would restrict the use of antibiotics in farm animals to medical care only.

In what is sure to be a controversial battle, state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, is seeking to replace special elections with gubernatorial appointments for legislative vacancies. Steinberg said he was fed up with expensive, low-turnout special elections, which has kept the Legislature below capacity throughout the session.

VIDEO: Dan Walters says a proposal to eliminate special elections is probably just as much about consolidating Democratic power as improving government efficiency.

LIGHT MY FIRE: With the Southern California tradition of beach bonfires at risk, Assemblyman Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach, has been pursuing legislation to ensure they remain legal. The South Coast Air Quality Management District will discuss what position to take on his bill at its meeting today in Diamond Bar.

LONG WALK TO FREEDOM: In April, members of the California Innocence Project, a California Western School of Law program aimed at overturning wrongful convictions, began a march from San Diego to Sacramento seeking clemency for 12 inmates across the state. The group will be on the west Capitol steps again today at noon asking Gov. Jerry Brown to release the prisoners in time for Christmas. Among those attending the event are several past exonerees, including NFL linebacker Brian Banks.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown signs bills in Sacramento on March 24, 2011 as Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco look on. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua



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