WIRELESS INTERNET: The Assembly also sent the governor Assembly Bill 2415 that would require manufacturers to help computer users protect their personal information and prevent others from tapping into their wireless Internet networks. Supporters said the bill would give consumers the know-how to prevent so-called “piggybacking” by supplying new computer owners with the needed software. Lawmakers approved the measure 55-0. CELL PHONES: Motorists would have to use hands-free devices if they want to talk on cell phones while driving under a bill approved by the Assembly. The California Highway Patrol says cell phone use is the No. 1 cause of accidents, according to bill supporters. Some critics said even hands-free devices are not safe to use while driving. Other critics said that the bill is a form of government intrusion and that police should ticket motorists for erratic driving, not for the many potential causes of distractions. Assembly members passed the measure by 47-26 and sent it to the Senate for final approval. New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., have similar laws. GAY RIGHTS: By a 22-15 vote, the Senate sent the governor Senate Bill 1437 by Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Los Angeles, that would prohibit schools from using textbooks or providing instruction that criticizes people because of their sexual orientation. At one point the bill also would have required social science textbooks to discuss the historic contributions of gays. Kuehl dropped that provision in the Assembly in hopes of getting Schwarzenegger to sign the measure, but his aides have made statements indicating he still might veto the bill. Senators also sent the governor Senate Bill 1827 by Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, that would let domestic partners file joint state income tax returns. The 24-15 vote approved Assembly amendments. INITIATIVES: The Senate also approved, 22-13, a bill by Sen. Debra Bowen, D-Redondo Beach, that would require initiative petitions to reveal the measure’s five largest financial contributors and whether circulators were being paid to gather signatures. The vote approved Assembly amendments and sent Senate Bill 1598 to the governor, who vetoed a similar measure last year. Bowen said the legislation would empower voters by letting them know who was bankrolling a proposed initiative before they signed a petition to put it on the ballot. PLASTIC BAGS: Supermarkets and other large stores with at least 40,000 square feet of space would have to set up programs to recycle plastic bags under Assembly Bill 2449 that was approved by the Senate. Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys, said his bill would help stem a flood of plastic bags headed for landfills. “With Californians throwing away over 600 bags a second, they are creating enough waste to circle the planet over 250 times per year,” he said. A 29-9 vote returned the bill to the Assembly for a vote on Senate amendments. ALTERNATIVE FUELS: The Senate reversed itself and approved Assembly Bill 1012 by Assemblyman Joe Nation, D-San Rafael. The bill would require the California Air Resources Board to adopt regulations requiring that at least half the new cars and light trucks sold in California starting in 2020 be classified as clean-running alternative vehicles. Battery-powered cars, vehicles that run on ethanol or another alternative fuel, and vehicles that use a fuel mixture that is less than half gasoline would meet that standard. A 21-16 vote sent the proposal back to the Assembly for a vote on Senate amendments. On Monday, the bill had fallen four votes short of passing.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – Students who came to the country illegally could apply for state financial aid when they attend California colleges and universities under legislation approved Tuesday by the Assembly in a party-line vote. Supporters said immigrant children who have graduated and completed at least three years of high school in California should not be penalized for their parents’ decision to bring them to the U.S. illegally. “It is one small measure to help these kids that are working their butts off to live the American dream,” said Assemblyman Hector De La Torre, D-South Gate. The bill would build upon current state law that allows the same group of students to qualify for in-state tuition at California public schools and community colleges based on high school attendance, rather than U.S. citizenship or state residency. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts.Critics said offering financial aid to illegal immigrants would shortchange needy young citizens competing for a small pot of money for higher education. “We’re talking about limited resources here,” said Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine. “There’s only so much that can go around. It’s a slap in the face to people who have followed the rules.” Lawmakers approved Senate Bill 160 by a 43-27 vote, with no Republicans supporting it, and sent it to the Senate for final approval. Aides to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he had taken no position on the bill. Lawmakers also took the following action: SEX OFFENDERS: By a 65-0 vote, the Assembly passed legislation requiring registered sex offenders to notify their employers of their prior conviction if the job requires interaction with children. Bill author Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, R-Orange, said it was unacceptable that sex offenders have been employed as Santas at shopping malls, clowns at children’s parties and staff members at day camps. No lawmaker spoke against the measure, but some critics have said registrants could be banished from service and retail jobs where minors work if Assembly Bill 2263 is enacted. The bill goes to the governor.