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October 11, 2005

For More Information, Contact:
Hema Sareen Mohan at (650) 688-6384


SACRAMENTO – Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB 798 and SB 802, by State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), which will help people of modest means gain access to unused prescription drugs, and protect consumers against identity theft, respectively. 

SB 798 and SB 802 were winning entries of Simitian’s annual “There Oughta Be a Law” contest, which invites Californians to submit ideas for new state legislation.  The annual contest is under way. 
“I’m gratified that the Governor signed these common sense solutions into law,” said Simitian.  “Some of the best ideas I hear for new legislation come directly from folks in the community.  The fact that these two winning ideas were signed is a wonderful reminder that everyday people stand a good chance of seeing their innovative ideas become law.”

The two new laws are as follows:

Prescription Drug Recovery and Distribution Program (SB 798)
SB 798 will allow counties to establish a program to let skilled nursing facilities, drug manufacturers, and wholesalers to collect unused prescription drugs.  County-owned pharmacies will then dispense the medicine to those who cannot afford them.

Concerned about the high price of medication, Stanford Medical School students Josemaria Paterno, Emiley Chang, Shila Ravi, Joey Peraza, and Michael Mancuso submitted this winning proposal. 

“Currently many health facilities literally flush perfectly good, unused drugs down the toilet.  SB 798 will help ensure that much needed medicine ends up in the hands of those who can neither afford nor access it,” said Paterno. 

California joins eleven other states in the nation that operate similar drug recovery and distribution programs. 

Protection of Debit Card Information (SB 802)
This law prohibits businesses from printing more than the last five digits of a debit card number, which is the same protection that credit cards currently receive. 

Los Gatos resident Ron Tomich suggested this idea after noticing that all the digits of his debit card were printed on a sales receipt. 

“I am very pleased that the Governor has signed this law to protect consumers, and I thank Senator Simian for initiating the ‘There Oughta Be a Law’ contest to involve the public in the legislative process,” Tomich said upon hearing that the Governor signed his idea into law. 

The Governor vetoed a third winning “Oughta Be a Law” entry, SB 800, which would have required motorists to move over or slow down when approaching tow trucks or other emergency crews along the highway.  Daniel Frederick Leon, a tow truck driver, submitted this idea after noticing that drivers who do not move over or slow down when approaching tow trucks or emergency crews endanger the lives of workers on the road and other motorists.

Simitian called the Governor’s veto “disappointing.”  “I was surprised as well as disappointed,” added Simitian.  “This is already the law in more than half the states in the country.  I believe SB 800 was a real lifesaver.”

Simitian noted that just within the last two weeks, a tow truck driver aiding a disabled vehicle on the 91 Freeway near Yorba Linda was killed when he was struck by a passing motorist; and two California Highway Patrol officers were hospitalized when struck on Highway 101 in Mountain View while they assisted a stranded driver.

To learn more about SB 798, 800, and 802, visit .  To get an application for Simitian’s “There Oughta Be a Law” contest, visit or call (650) 688-6384.