Chelsea's Law Heads to Governor's Desk

By Jeff Nguyen and Eric S. Page
|  Monday, Aug 30, 2010  |  Updated 5:17 PM PDT
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Go the Distance

Chelsea had applied to 11 colleges and aspired to a career that would combine her interests in writing and the environment. Although her aspirations were cut short, her parents say her light still shines strong.

Photos and Videos

Chelsea's Law One Step Closer

Brent and Kelly King say they are "really happy and that it was a good day."

Raw Video: Kings offer Chelsea's Law Update

The family of the slain Poway teen offers an update on the progress of Chelsea's law.
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The bill known as Chelsea's Law passed unanimously in the state Assembly on Monday.

Its next stop will be Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk. If he signs the legislation, the bill would immediately become law.

Chelsea's Law is named after 17-year-old Poway High School student Chelsea King, who was raped and murdered by John Gardner, who also admitted a similar role in the death of Amber Dubois, a 14-year-old Escondido teen.

The bill includes mandatory life sentences for the most violent sex offenders, and calls for tougher parole conditions and targeted treatment.

"AB 1844, Chelsea's Law, is inspired by the spirit of Chelsea King, but is for all the children of California," said Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (R-San Diego), the co-author of Chelsea's Law, on Monday.

"In cases like these, with criminals like these, once guilt has been determined beyond a reasonable doubt, it may be best to just lock them up and throw away the key," said Assemblyman Marty Block (D-San Diego), the bill's co-author.

Fletcher first introduced the bill in April. At the time, it focused on punishment but it has since been expanded to reform the parole system.

"It’s cost neutral.  There will be no additional cost to the taxpayer," said Fletcher.

But that may be tough to do at a time when California is deep in a financial crisis and the overburdened prison system is severely hampered by overcrowding.

The state's prison agency estimates the stricter law would carry an annual cost of $54 million by the year 2030.

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