In 1999, the Office of the Attorney General was a co-sponsor of AB 1670. AB 1670 was an omnibus civil rights bill that made significant changes to California's civil rights laws that will help combat discrimination in a variety of areas.
In 2000, the Office of the Attorney General sponsored AB 2719 which strengthened California's Bane Civil Rights Act by removing the requirement that discriminatory intent be established in order to maintain a claim under this law. This bill also strengthened the Ralph Civil Rights Act by giving authority to the Attorney General and district and city attorneys to seek a civil penalty of $25,000, payable to the person whose rights under this law have been violated, in any civil action they institute to enforce this law.
In 2001, the Office of the Attorney General sponsored AB 587 which became effective on January 1, 2002. This legislation strengthened the Bane Civil Rights Act by granting authority to the Attorney General and district and city attorneys to seek a civil penalty of $25,000, payable to the person whose rights have been violated, in any civil action they institute to enforce this law.
In 2002, the Office of the Attorney General sponsored AB 2524, which became effective January 1, 2003. This new law requires parties to any proceeding before the California Supreme Court, California Court of Appeal, or appellate division of the superior court, in cases involving the alleged violation, application or construction of specified California civil rights statutes, to serve copies of their briefs or petitions on the State Solicitor General of the Office of the Attorney General. This new law will improve the Attorney General's ability to identify, at the earliest stage possible, cases which present important civil rights issues and may warrant his participation as amicus curiae.
In 2002, the Office of the Attorney General sponsored AB 1999, which became effective January 1, 2003. This new law amends the Immigration Consultants Act (ICA), Business and Professions Code section 22440 et seq., to authorize the Attorney General, district attorneys, and city attorneys to seek a civil penalty, not to exceed $100,000 for each violation of ICA committed by persons or businesses who provide immigration-related services. This amendment furthers the Attorney General's efforts to deter this type of consumer fraud in California which is pervasive in our immigrant communities.
In 2003, the Office of the Attorney General sponsored SB 262, which will take effect on January 1, 2004. This new law is intended to address the pervasive and persistent problem of non-compliance with state disabled access laws and regulations. The law authorizes the filing of an action for civil penalties by the Attorney General, city attorneys, district attorneys and county counsel against privately-funded public accommodations that, after being given notice, fail to correct violations of state disabled access laws and regulations on their properties. The civil penalty is $2,500 per violation. A privately-funded public accommodation that fails to correct a violation within 90 days of notification is subject to an additional civil penalty of not less than $500 nor more than $2,500 per violation for each additional day that the violation remains. Additionally, this law requires the State Architect to establish and publicize a program for voluntary certification by the state of any person who meets specified criteria as a certified access specialist.