SACRAMENTO — A bill putting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on the spot over the Iraq war is headed his way soon, following Assembly action this week.

The lower house approved a bill Monday by Senate leader Don Perata, D-Oakland, that would ask California voters whether they want immediate withdrawal of troops.

The advisory measure — the first of its kind nationally regarding Iraq — would appear on California's Feb. 5 presidential primary. That is, if it's signed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"You can send no stronger message to the president of this country and the U.S. Congress," said Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, the Los Angeles Democrat who sponsored Perata's bill in the lower house.

SB 924, which goes back for Senate consideration Thursday of Assembly amendments, poses a political dilemma for the governor, whose aides said Monday he would not take a position until he has seen it.

The Assembly debated the bill passionately for more than two hours before voting 43-32 on party lines to approve it.

Underlying the clash for both sides was the toll and whether soldiers have died needlessly or for a proper cause. More than 400 of the more than 3,700 troops who have been killed in the war came from California — more than any other state.

As the Legislature swept toward its Sept. 14 deadline, the Senate approved a bill by Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, to allow the use of medical technology that makes conception with an HIV-positive

partner safe.


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SB 443 passed 35-1, concurring in Assembly amendments and sending the bill to the governor.

Sperm can be cleansed of HIV but current law prevents it. This bill would clear the way for would-be parents, where the father is HIV positive, to take advantage of the procedure.

California law "needs to catch up with technology," Migden said.

The Assembly on Monday also approved SB 362 by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, which would bar employers from forcing workers into having chips implanted under their skin as a condition for employment.

The devices, known as radio frequency identification devices, are programmed to carry detailed personal information that is read by special, external devices.

The bill drew a bipartisan 64-4 vote, aimed at protecting personal privacy and preserving civil rights. The bill now returns for Senate consideration of amendments.

Contact Steve Geissinger at sgeissinger@bayareanewsgroup.com or (916) 447-9302.