Oct. 12, 2010 — The paper gets nearly hourly updates as to what Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is up to. We know when he leaves the state, the country and when he returns. We also get a list of signed legislation and vetoed law. Because it is coming down to the last few weeks to Election Day, a slew of new legislation is crossing the governor’s desk for signing. Much of the legislation does not affect Lassen County even in the slightest but affects large southern counties such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.
However there are two bills the governor has signed that will have an affect on local citizens and the newspaper is looking into the ramifications of one bill —SB 1440 allows students at the community college level who attain an associate’s degree to transfer to a California State University. According to Lassen College President Doug Houston the ramifications of the bill are huge. We hope to have a story and/or an opinion article from Houston within a couple of weeks explaining how this bill will benefit Lassen County and its college.
The second bill AB 1601 is more straightforward and was signed to protect citizens from drunk drivers. Each week the court calendar lists numerous driving under the influence cases and many are repeat offenders. The new assembly bill authorizes judges to revoke, for up to 10 years, the license of any person convicted of three or more DUIs in a 10-year period. Current law only allows for a license revocation period of three years for someone with three or more DUIs. Hundreds of thousands of Californians are arrested and convicted of driving under the influence every year in California, and many of them are repeat offenders, a statement in a press release from the governor’s office read.
“This legislation is an important step toward making California’s roads safer. Thousands of lives are impacted and lost every year due to drunk driving, and I am proud to sign legislation that could help reduce that number. Those who have multiple DUI convictions should not be on the road threatening lives,” said Schwarzenegger.
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, there were 187,987 DUI convictions in California in 2008, 9,164 of which were third time DUI offenders within 10 years. In 2008, drunk drivers in California killed more than 1,000 people and another 28,000 were injured. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are more than 310,000 people in California with three or more DUI convictions and one-third of the annual 1.5 million DUI arrests are repeat offenders.
It has been several decades now that drivers have heard the message about not driving while under the influence, yet too many people still get behind the wheel of a vehicle thinking they are safe to get home. When someone dies or is injured at the hands of a drunken driver, not only are the victim’s family impacted but the driver and his family is also impacted in a negative way. For many people it is inconceivable why others choose to get behind the wheel of a car when they know they have been drinking.
The new law is strict, but until people stop drinking alcohol and then driving under the influence, the law needs to remain so. AB 1601 will go into effect Jan. 1, 2012.
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