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Gov. Brown pressured by groups to sign bills

September 26, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's a race against time for Governor Jerry Brown as he tries to sign or veto dozens of new bills passed by the state legislature. Supporters and opponents of those bills are still making their feelings known.

With less than two weeks to act on the hundreds of bills still sitting on his desk, Governor Jerry Brown is getting pressure everywhere. From letters to phone calls, he's swamped.

"I actually read them. I read the arguments, people calling me," said Brown last week. "The phone is off the hook. People say 'I want to talk about this one, I want to talk about that one.'"

Several groups supporting a controversial shark-fin ban gave one final push, appealing to Brown's environmental and animal-rights side. They're even using star power, led by actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Edward Norton, to make a written plea with a note.

"Californians everywhere are rallying to help end the decimation of sharks and protect the ocean we all depend on by asking the governor to sign AB 376," said state Assemblyman Paul Fong (D-Mountain View).

With no celebrities to champion their cause, families rallied at the Capitol to urge Brown to force health insurance companies to cover more autism treatments. But they did have irresistible kids to help.

"Our kids' lives matter. So my child might not be Leonardo DiCaprio, but guess what? He's just as important," said Feda Almaliti, mother of a son with autism.

"I don't know how much he's influenced by those big names, or little names or medium-sized names or whatever," said state Senator Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), senate president. "He studies these issues."

You don't have to have a rally to be able to give Gov. Brown your thoughts on a bill: His website makes it easy to do so. Whether that has any influence, Brown's aides say he was elected to make the best decision possible.

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