It was a bittersweet day at the Organ Pavillion in Balboa Park.
In light to moderate rain, strangers carried single stemmed sunflowers. Children passed out orange wristbands with the “Chelsea's Light Foundation” printed on them.
And then, as if on cue, the sun came out.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Chelsea's Law, the legislation named after murdered San Diego teen Chelsea King. The law, in part, will enact a one-strike, life without parole sentencing option for the most dangerous sexual offenders. Because of a special emergency provision, the law will go into effect immediately.
"Today is a day to celebrate your support and passion and to let you know you helped Chelsea achieve her goal of changing the world," said Kelly King, Chelsea's mother, who wore a bright yellow dress to the ceremony.
The King family, who earlier this year moved to Illinois, was present at the signing along with other state legislators, including the legislation's author, Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher.
During the ceremony, Fletcher recounted his first meetings with the King family and a conversation he had with Chelsea's father Brent King.
"I remember Brent saying 'you have no idea the power of my daughter. She is absolutely capable of anything'," said Fletcher, who at the signing turned to King and said, "today, you are right,"
"Because of Chelsea, everyone has joined together to solve a serious problem in our state," said Schwarzenegger. "I hope it offers some comfort to all of you here today. My heart goes out to you."
Chelsea's law will also increase sentences for forcible sex crimes, increase parole terms for those who target children under the age of 14, including lifetime parole, restrict sex offenders from entering parks, require sex offenders' risk assessment scores be made public through the Megan's Law website and revise California's mentally disordered offenders law.
At the signing, Schwarzenegger also announced his intent to sign three measures sponsored, in part, by Moe Dubois, the father of murder teen Amber Dubois. Those measures would enhance law enforcement training and response, statewide coordination and data sharing when children go missing.