‘Jessica’s Law’ on hold
The day after voters resoundingly approved Proposition 83, “Jessica’s Law,” a federal judge in San Francisco imposed a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of its provision that prohibits any convicted sex offender from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park.
The restrictions are “punitive by design and effect,” U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston said. The suit was brought by a “John Doe” who had been convicted of a non-aggravated sex crime more than 15 years ago, served his time and led a successful life since then. The law would unconstitutionally force him to move, his suit argued.
Jessica’s Law would also require him to wear a GPS monitor for the rest of his life.
A hearing on the suit is scheduled for Nov. 27. The author of Jessica’s Law, state Sen. George Runner (R-Lancaster), told the Sacramento Bee he agreed with the judge’s order because the law was not meant to be applied retroactively.
Kids at risk
Chico’s school kids know alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs are bad for them, but by the time they get to high school, a lot use them anyway, according to a survey released last week.
Data for the California Healthy Kids Survey (www.wested.org) was collected in the fall of 2005 from fifth-, seventh-, ninth- and 11th-graders in the Chico school district. Only the seventh- and 11th-graders completed enough surveys to be considered valid, but the results are similar to those of a survey taken in 2003.
Nearly half (47 percent) of 11th-graders had drunk alcohol in the past 30 days, 34 percent of them had binged, and 26 percent of them had smoked marijuana. Only 16 percent had smoked a cigarette, however.
The fifth-graders had almost no familiarity with drugs of any kind, and most (58 percent) felt “very safe” at school. By high school, however, those numbers declined dramatically; most 11th-graders (69 percent) had drunk alcohol, and only 18 percent felt “very safe” at school.
On the brighter side…
Freshmen at Chico State University report they were helped by a new alcohol-abuse education program introduced this year. In surveys filled out upon completion of the Web-based AlcoholEdu for College program, 70 percent of participants said they knew more than they had previously about alcohol’s physiological effects, and 74 percent said they were more prepared to make decisions about drinking.
When students filled out the final survey 30 days after starting the program, they reported they’d changed the way they treated friends who drink too much and were more likely to talk with them or worry about them.
AlcoholEdu is one of a number of ways the university has been working to combat alcohol abuse among students. “Chico State has long been a leader in alcohol-abuse education,” Drew Calandrella, vice president for student affairs, said in a press release, “and AlcoholEdu has become one valuable aspect of that effort.”