Gov. vetoes election day registration for new citizens;

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Also, he signs an immigration-related bill that prohibits cities from having landlords ask about the residency status of their tenants.

Los Angeles Times

SACRAMENTO, CA — Weighing in on immigrants’ rights issues, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a law prohibiting cities from requiring landlords to ask the residency status of tenants, but on Thursday he vetoed a measure that would have allowed new citizens to register to vote on election day.

The governor signed 50 bills Thursday. He vetoed 27, including legislation that would have made it difficult for high school students with poor grades to get work permits and a bill that would have legalized industrial hemp production.

The bill banning citizenship checks of tenants was written by Assemblyman Charles Calderon (D-Montebello) in response to actions by some cities aimed at identifying illegal immigrants. The governor signed it Wednesday.

The new law, AB 976, prohibits cities and counties from enacting ordinances that would require residential landlords to inquire about the immigration or citizenship status of any tenant or prospective tenant.

“Cities do not have the authority to form their own foreign policy,” Calderon said.

“Local ordinances like the one adopted by the city of Escondido place landlords under serious liability whether they comply with the ordinance or fail to comply with the ordinance.

“Landlords do not want to be immigration officers; they simply want to make a living,” Calderon said.

Schwarzenegger, an immigrant from Austria, cited security concerns in vetoing a separate bill that would have allowed new citizens to register to vote on election day if their naturalization ceremonies were held fewer than seven days before an election. AB 1151 was written by Assemblyman Ted Lieu (D-Torrance).

“Allowing any group of people, regardless of the size of the group, to register and vote on the same day poses both logistical and security concerns,” the governor wrote.

He added that voter registration deadlines are in place to allow elections officials a reasonable opportunity to verify qualifications.

The governor also vetoed the bill restricting work permits, which was the idea of state Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) as one way to reduce the school dropout rate.

State law allows specified school officials to issue permits to pupils 13 to 17 years old so they can work during non-school hours.

The bill would have prevented students from getting work permits unless they maintained at least a 2.0, or C, grade-point average and an attendance rate of at least 80%.

“With only 70% of our students earning their diploma, we need to look at all the tools available to us to increase the graduation rate, and this was one,” Steinberg said Thursday after the governor rejected SB 406.

Schwarzenegger, who has four children, said he does not think the state should impose standards on local school districts, especially rules that would require the districts to incur costs to enforce.

“School boards are better suited to determine the standards that meet the unique circumstances of their students and their communities,” Schwarzenegger wrote in his veto message.

Thursday was not the first time the governor has rejected a bill that would have legalized the growing of industrial hemp in California. Schwarzenegger noted that growing hemp without a federal permit is against federal law.

The governor signed legislation by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Canada Flintridge) requiring the establishment of an umbilical cord blood collection program and creating a special account for federal funds and donations to public cord blood banks. That bill is AB 34.

He also signed SB 962 by Sen. Carole Migden (D-San Francisco), which specifies that information on cord blood donation must be provided to pregnant women.

The governor said the legislation “lays a foundation to expand potentially lifesaving cord blood donation,” noting that it holds the promise of helping to develop treatments for diseases, including sickle cell anemia.

A week after the state was sued by advocates for foster care families for not committing enough resources to foster care, the governor signed six bills Thursday that he said build on the state’s efforts to improve the system.

The legislation includes a measure by Assemblywoman Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) that would require counties to apply for federal disability assistance on behalf of foster children who qualify.

AB 1331 targets youths ages 16 1/2 through 17 1/2 to help them in the transition to adulthood.

Other signed bills call for development of a plan to transform the current system of group care for foster children into a system of residentially based services and allow the public release of specified portions of juvenile case files of any child who has died as the result of substantiated abuse or neglect.

Schwarzenegger said the bills “will further enhance the services for vulnerable children in our state.”

Meanwhile, with gasoline prices in California edging back up to around $3 a gallon, the governor has also signed a bill to study whether motorists are getting less than they pay for when they pump gas during hot weather.

“When temperature rises above 60 degrees, gasoline expands,” said Assemblyman Mike Davis (D-Los Angeles).

“But California’s pumps don’t account for the larger volume. So while the pump says you’re getting a gallon of gas, you may actually be getting less.”

However, consumer advocates had urged the governor to veto the bill, saying the oil industry had convinced legislators to study, not solve, the problem.

“The bottom line of our opposition is that the measure calls for politically tinged studies that will delay or block any resolution and add nothing to the science of hot fuel,” said Judy Dugan, research director of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights.

A spokesman for the governor said the bill will help determine whether gas pumps should be calibrated to account for temperature.

“With crude oil prices reaching all-time highs, it’s important to ensure that consumers get the most value possible for each dollar spent on gasoline,” said Bill Maile, a spokesman for Schwarzenegger.
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