California to outlaw inmate cellphones

Sept. 8, 2011 at 10:19 AM
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SACRAMENTO, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- California legislators have approved bills banning inmate cellphones and expediting the legal process for a proposed football stadium.

On Wednesday, California lawmakers moved to outlaw cellphones in prisons, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"We know they've been used to organize street gangs, traffic drugs and intimidate witnesses," said state Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima, author of the bill.

Under the bill, approved 74-0 by the assembly, smuggling cellphones into prisons for inmate use will be punishable by up to 6 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Also Wednesday, the assembly approved another bill by Padilla to grant an expedited legal review to Anschutz Entertainment Group's proposal for a 72,000-seat football stadium in Los Angeles.

The bill requires challenges to the project be settled in 175 days. The measure is to assure investors and the NFL that the project would not be postponed by litigation.

"The goal of the bill is simply to get people back to work sooner rather than later," said state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, who also said he would introduce a companion bill to extend the benefits to other projects.

Both bills will go to Gov. Jerry Brown for approval soon, the newspaper said.

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