California Gov. Jerry Brown entered the national debate over child vaccinations for sexually transmitted diseases, signing a bill that would allow girls as young as 12 to receive the so-called HPV vaccine without parents' consent.
The bill was signed Sunday. Human papillomavirus is the leading cause of cervical cancer.
But the issue has been a controversial topic in recent weeks, as Texas Gov. Rick Perry came under fire in the Republican presidential primary race for issuing a 2007 order requiring the vaccine for young girls.
While signing the HPV bill, Brown also signed a bill making California the first state where it will be illegal for teenagers younger than 18 to use tanning beds. Brown on Sunday worked through 142 bills on his desk before a midnight deadline. Aides said it might be Monday before he announced all the actions he had taken.
On the HPV bill, public health officials said the law will keep up with new prevention treatments and help slow the spread of disease among minors.
But Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, worried the law will deceive preteen girls into believing they can freely engage in sexual activity without risk. He also accused Brown of interfering with parents' ability to make decisions for children not yet old enough to vote or drive.
Public health officials also praised Brown for banning the use of tanning beds by teenagers under age 18.
Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, who authored SB746, said 30 other states have some restrictions but that California would be the first to set the higher age limit. Currently, using tanning beds is illegal in California for those 14 and under, but those ages 15-17 can tan with their parents' permission.
The Indoor Tanning Association said 5 percent to 10 percent of its customers are younger than 18. The organization said California tanning salons already face the most stringent regulations in the nation.
Brown also signed SB946, requiring health insurance plans to provide coverage for children with autism or other developmental disorders.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, called the coverage "the difference between despair and hope" for many families.
Opponents say SB946 will increase health insurance premiums by millions of dollars just as many people and businesses are struggling to afford their insurance coverage during tight times.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.