Gov. Schwarzenegger signs, vetoes state bills

SACRAMENTO One signed bill is designed to keep citizens safe from radiation. Another gives foster children additional support.

Governor Schwarzenegger and his staff beat the midnight deadline by a mile. The governor tweeted on his Twitter account that they had finished working on the 772 bills that were on his desk.

Among the laws Schwarzenegger approved is a radiation-safety bill. Two-hundred-sixty cases at L.A.'s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center alone came to light of patients being overexposed during routine CT scans, causing ailments like hair loss. Another hospital left a baby in the machine for an hour instead of a minute. The new law puts better protections in place.

"We strongly believe that if these safeguards had been in place, these tragedies wouldn't have occurred," said Paloma Perez, associate legislative counsel at Consumer Attorneys of California.

The governor also gave foster kids in California a break. He extended foster care benefits to age 21 to help them transition to adulthood.

"My foster parents were just like, 'Get out of the house,'" said Christina Davis-Clark, a former foster youth.

There have been horror stories about foster kids forced out on their own as soon as they turned 18, increasing their likelihood of homelessness and crime. Former foster youth say the extra benefits give them a chance.

"We're stigmatized by our past. They think because we're foster youth we do bad things. We go to jail. We get pregnant," said Davis-Clark. "The statistics are against us."

Schwarzenegger vetoed some proposals that would have been popular with Californians.

One would have banned debit-card fees at many Arco gas stations, for instance, where customers have to pay an extra 45 cents for using a debit card. But the governor nixed the idea, saying he's afraid those businesses will just raise their price for everyone to make up the difference.

"Well obviously he's not for the little man and the business people," said Bennie Simmons, a debit card customer.

And those red-light camera tickets that cost more than $400 per violation: A bill that reduced the fine by half for those "California turns," where drivers don't make a complete stop, the governor vetoed that too, saying he doesn't want to encourage dangerous driving.

Some drivers say they're not surprised, since the state needs the money.

"If you veto that amount of money, money coming into the general coffer, then you're stopping taxes, money being used for certain things, and he doesn't want do that," said Sol Irving, who received a red-light ticket. "So as a result, is that right? No."

The one thing the governor should be signing, but isn't, is a state budget. The Legislature has not sent him one year. It's now going on four months late.

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