A package of bills trim compensation costs that businesses pay
into a $29-billion insurance system for on-the-job injuries.
Assemblyman Dario Frommer (D-Glendale) was particularly proud of
those, even though local business leaders say more must be done to
achieve real reform.
"We believe they will cut about $4 billion to $5 billion out of
the costs of workers' compensation," said Frommer, who is chairman of
the Assembly health committee and sits on the insurance committee.
Local business leaders have been concerned about skyrocketing
compensation premiums, but they do not think the 2003 legislation is
"We feel it isn't enough and we feel we still need workers'
compensation reform both in the rates and with fraud," said Judee
Kendall, executive vice president of the Glendale Chamber of
Another significant law is SB 2, legislation that requires more
small businesses to provide health insurance to employees.
Other bills that affect residents include ones about education.
Senate Bill 65 bans school boards from signing or renewing
contracts with soda companies without notifying parents.
And another bill prohibits the sale of such soft drinks on
elementary and middle school campuses. A new law also allows voters
to contest an election on the grounds that he or she was denied the
right the vote.
New laws also relate to the entertainment industry.
A new Frommer law, for instance, bans state and local officials
from asking for a charitable donation in exchange for granting a film
For workers, this year, the state becomes the first to provide
paid family leave to workers who need up to six weeks to care for an
ill family member or a new child.
Legislators passed a three-year extension of Megan's Law, which
allows public access to information about convicted sex offenders.
Another new public safety law increases the cost of not wearing a
seat belt by allowing courts to impose fees on top of the original
fine. Also, children younger than 6 or who weigh less than 60 pounds
are required to ride in the rear seat of cars, except under special