Governor Passes Bill Protecting Academic Researchers at Home

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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill yesterday that will limit the activity of animal-rights protesters at researchers' homes.

Assembly Bill 2296, or the Researcher Protection Act of 2008, makes it a misdemeanor to publish personal information about academic researchers or their family members if readers intend to use it to threaten or attack those researchers.

The bill also makes it a misdemeanor for protesters to enter researchers' property to interfere with their academic practices.

"The fact that there have been attacks on academic researchers highlighted the need for the bill," said Assemblymember Gene Mullin, D-South San Francisco, who introduced the bill in February. "The fact that there are enhanced criminal penalties now present will act as a deterrent."

The bill comes after attacks on the homes of researchers at multiple UC campuses. At UC Berkeley, there have been more than 20 reports of vandalism at researchers' houses, including broken windows and vandalized cars. Anti-animal research activists firebombed the homes of two UC Santa Cruz researchers in August, according to UC police.

"We think it's going to enhance the safety of researchers throughout the state at public and private universities, and we're very pleased," Mullin said.

Read The Daily Californian tomorrow for the full story.

Stephanie M. Lee is the assistant university news editor. Contact her at [email protected]

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