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New bills proposed could benefit teens

May 10, 2010 5:38:54 PM PDT
There are several new bills being proposed by state lawmakers that supporters say will help protect teenagers. Critics complain the bills go too far and that legislators should focus on the massive $20 billion budget deficit.

California teenagers may be in for some big changes in the way they live their lives, with a slew of restrictive bills pending.

State Senator Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, who is also a child psychologist, says they need help to make the right decisions.

"What we're trying to do is just empower our parents to help them help their kids," he said.

Yee is among several lawmakers who are trying to:

  • Ban the sale of Gatorade on campuses, except during practice or games, to help fight obesity
  • Prohibit metal bats during games
  • Require helmets while on the slopes
  • Outlaw nipple piercings
  • Make it illegal to brand themselves with a hot iron
Critics say regulating teen behavior is the parents' job and such laws push California further into being a "nanny state."

"It means a government that says, 'Hey, you're not smart enough to make your own decisions, so we're going to make the decisions for you. So, we're going to be like your nanny," State Senator Tony Strickland, R-Thousand Oaks, said.

Teens we caught up with today see both sides, but think lawmakers are going too far.

"I think my parents do enough telling me what I should and shouldn't do. I don't need the government telling me what else I can't do," teenager Alex Nyamadzawo said.

"I can see what they're trying to do like with the Gatorade and wearing your helmet, because it's a safety issue," teenager Alex Quon said.

Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, admits fellow Democrats sometimes overreach, but feels his moratorium on metal bats in high school is necessary pointing to a 16-year-old pitcher in his district who was knocked into a coma by a ball hit off a metal bat.

"It doesn't feel like nanny. It feels like a very important public safety issue," he said. "I guess everybody has their own nanny breaking point."

Other lawmakers say, with the state facing a $20 billion deficit and so many other major problems, they have more important things they should be focusing on.


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