New laws take effect today

A number of new state laws authored by two Silicon Valley state senators will take effect today.

Hospitals will be required to provide patients in need of long-term care with contact information for the services they would need in order to remain in their homes, or in a community-based facility under SB 633 authored by State Sen. Elaine Alquist, D-Santa Clara.

“The goal of the bill is to ensure that patients and their family members are aware that nursing homes are not theonly option for long-term care,” according to a statement from Alquist’s office.

State Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, authored SB 362, which prohibits employers and others from requiring anyone to have a radio frequency identification device implanted under their skin. California becomes the third state, joining Wisconsin and North Dakota, to ban the forced implantation of the devices in human beings. In 2006, a Cincinnati video surveillance company called Citywatcher.com caused controversy when it required employees who work in its secure data center to be implanted with a chip, according to Simitian’s office.

“This may sound Orwellian but it’s real, and it just makes sense to address it now,” Simitian said in a statement following the bill’s signing into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in October. “We can’t have employers requiring their workforce to get ‘tagged.’ There are other ways to secure a company’s physical and intellectual property, it certainly shouldn’t be at the expense of a person’s right to privacy.”

Simitian’s best known bills, the ones requiring hands-free usage of cell phones while driving and banning drivers under age 18 from using any portable electronic device while behind the wheel, go into effect in six months, on July 1, 2008.

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