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Tragedy prompts limo legislation: Local lawmaker Jerry Hill adds bill to legislative packet
May 10, 2013, 05:00 AM By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal staff

Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo

State Sen. Jerry Hill’s legislative packet this year contains three bills out of 23 that aim to change how the California Public Utilities Commission does its job.

A limousine fire and the death of five women last week on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge, however, has caused Hill, D-San Mateo, to add another piece of legislation to the list that he will introduce in Sacramento today, he told the Daily Journal yesterday.

The CPUC governs the private bus and limousine industry in the state but does not require California Highway Patrol inspections on any of the vehicles that carry 10 passengers or fewer and does not require them to have fire extinguishers.

The bill Hill will introduce today will require fire extinguishers in the passenger compartments of all limousines, regardless of how many passengers they carry, he said.

He imagines the bill will be modified in the coming months to also require mandates such as requiring more inspections for modifications made to limousines, most of which are stretched Lincoln Town Cars.

“So many things could go wrong with the modifications, including substandard electrical work,” Hill said.

Since the women were trapped inside the limousine, unable to open the locked door, Hill also imagines that some sort of emergency exit device be in place to help prevent such tragedies in the future.

“There has to be some way of opening the door from the inside in case of emergency,” Hill said.

While Hill has crafted many bills in the past few years related to the CPUC after the gas pipeline explosion and fire in San Bruno in 2010, his complete legislative packet this year contains 20 other bills related to such issues as protecting mountain lions, drunken driving, combating methamphetamine production and reforming the state’s Enterprise Zone Program among others.

Hill has also introduced legislation, Senate Bill 557, to give the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board veto power if the California High-Speed Rail Authority proposes again to construct a four-track system on the Peninsula.

Senate Bill 55 requires that an individual convicted of a second driving-under-the-influence offense within 10 years to install and use an ignition interlock device for one year and comply with IID calibrations every other month before full driving privileges are restored.

An incident in Half Moon Bay in December prompted Hill to craft Senate Bill 132 that requires the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to use nonlethal options when responding to incidents like the one that led to the fatal shooting of two mountain lion cubs by a game warden in the backyard of a home. 

To see Hill’s proposed legislation for 2013 go to

(650) 344-5200 ext. 106

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