|Senator Dutton Introduces SB 116 To Eliminate Sunset Clause In Safe Arms For Newborns Law
Sen. Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga) has introduced Senate Bill 116 which allows new mothers, who for whatever reason decide they are unable or unwilling to care for their infants, to deliver the newborn to any hospital or public safety facility without fear of arrest or prosecution within 72 hours of the child’s birth.
When the law called “Safe Arms for Newborns” was originally introduced it included a five year sunset clause to ensure that ineffective laws would fall off the books.
However, according to Debi Cefili, a Yucaipa resident who founded Garden of Angels, an organization that helps place abandoned infants and bury those who die after being discarded, at least 71 newborns have been saved since the law took effect in 2001. Cefili, who recently won the California Lottery, was the catalyst for the bill in 2000 when she worked with then Sen. Jim Brulte (who represented the 31st Senate District from 1996-2004) to get the legislation passed.
“It’s clear this law has saved lives and has been an effective law,” Senator Dutton said. “I’m proud that this is the first piece of legislation that I’ve introduced in the Senate and am very hopeful that all in the legislature will see the importance of this law remaining on the books.”
SB 116 is expected to receive bi-partisan support in both the Senate and Assembly. In fact, Senate Democrats Joe Simitian, who represents portions San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties and Jack Scott from Pasadena have signed on as a joint author of the bill.