Smartphone Kill Switch Bill One Vote Away from Governor’s Desk

FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, file photo, Tashalee Rodriguez, of Boston, uses a smart phone app while shopping at Macy's in downtown Boston. Big retailers, are offering apps that feature a hefty selection of deals. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, file photo, Tashalee Rodriguez, of Boston, uses a smart phone app while shopping at Macy's in downtown Boston. Big retailers, are offering apps that feature a hefty selection of deals. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

SACRAMENTO (AP) – Legislation requiring manufacturers to install shut-off functions in smartphones as a way to deter thefts is on the verge of passing the Legislature.

The bill passed the state Assembly on a 51-18 vote Thursday and returns to the Senate for a final vote on amendments.

Democratic Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco says SB962 responds to an exploding crime problem. Under his bill, smartphones must be sold with technology that deactivates them if stolen. It does not apply to tablets or laptops.

SB962 is supported by law enforcement and consumer groups. Manufacturers including Apple, Samsung and Blackberry dropped their initial opposition after lawmakers agreed to amendments.

A wireless trade group remains opposed, saying deactivation rules should not vary by state.

The bill will take effect in July 2015 if signed by the governor.

(Copyright 2014, KRON 4 and the Associated Press, All rights reserved.)

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