Donda West Law Passed by California Legislature
A new law in California officially requires residents to receive medical clearance from a licensed physician 30 days before undergoing cosmetic surgery.
Known as the "Donda West Law," named for the late mother of Kanye West, the measure was signed into law on Monday (October 12), after clearing various hurdles, including a veto by California Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger after its first trip through the State Senate in 2008,
Donda West died in November 2007 due to complications from cosmetic surgery. As details emerged about the situation, it was revealed that West, who had a preexisting coronary artery disease, underwent the elective procedure without receiving proper medical clearance from her doctor. The combination of her illness and several post-operative factors contributed to the tragic result of routine abdominoplasty and tummy tuck.
In February 2008, West's niece Yolanda Anderson proposed that the state of California institute legislation to make sure a similar error was not made in the future. "We felt this is something we wanted to do to make sure her death wouldn't be in vain," Anderson said at the time. "We don't want to let it happen to other families. We've spoken to Kanye and he's very enthusiastic about it."
With the help of local Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter, Anderson's idea was entered in a district-wide contest called "It Ought to Be a Law," and was selected as the winner, to be introduced as a bill in 2008. The bill passed in the Senate before being vetoed -- along with 130 other bills that day -- by Schwarzenegger, who cited the state's ongoing budget crisis as his reason for passing on the regulation. "I am only signing bills that are the highest priority to California," he said at the time. "This bill does not meet that standard and I cannot sign it at this time."
The bill was resubmitted in February of this year and thanks to Carter's persistence, state lawmakers approved the measure in September. On Monday, Schwarzenegger signed the bill amidst a number of other measures, including a law that allows fines of up to $50,000 on paparazzi and other photographers for taking and selling unauthorized photos of celebrities and others, and their children, during "personal or familial activity."