Senate Bill 1582, sponsored by Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), “cleared its first hurdle Tuesday as the state Senate’s public safety committee voted to move it forward in the legislative process.”

Such ships generally have private security guards, but a spate of alleged crimes on the high seas has prompted victims and their families to push for greater oversight. Several federal and international laws and agencies regulate cruise ships, but most of the major cruise lines register their ships in foreign countries such as Liberia and Panama and sail in international waters, raising complicated jurisdictional issues.

Simitian’s bill calls for funding “ocean rangers” with a $1-a-day passenger fee. The rangers would monitor public safety and ensure that ships comply with environmental regulations that prohibit them from dumping waste within three miles of the state’s coastline. If passed, the bill would give California the most stringent cruise-ship regulations in the nation.
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