Capitol Beat – Governor Signs Sponsored Use-of-Force Legislation

Aaron Read and Randy Perry
Legislative Advocates
Aaron Read & Associates, LLC

On September 12, Governor Newsom signed into law PORAC’s sponsored bill, SB 230 by Senator Anna Caballero (D–Salinas). PORAC, along with ARA and other stakeholders in our state, was there to witness the signing of the bill, which was 15 months in the making. SB 230 builds on California’s already rigorous officer training requirements and is the first bill to mandate additional statewide training in specific categories such as de-escalation, interacting with vulnerable populations and an officer’s duty to intercede. 

SB 230 incorporates the best practices already proven by other cities and states to be effective in reducing serious use-of-force incidents — making it the most comprehensive legislation dealing with use-of-force policies and training in the country. SB 230 will proactively and effectively result in better public safety outcomes for everyone because it will:

  • Require that every California law enforcement officer receive the most robust training in the nation strictly designed to minimize the use of force.
  • Set specific policy requirements on de-escalation, an officer’s duty to intercede, rendering medical aid, proportional use of force, interacting with vulnerable populations and more.
  • Specify that use-of-force policies and training may be considered in legal proceedings.
  • Increase transparency by setting forth detailed, standardized requirements for reporting all instances when force is used in our communities.

With the passage of SB 230, California has set a new national standard that every other state can look to as a model when updating their own use-of-force policies and training. PORAC is proud to be national leaders in championing legislation that will protect our California families, communities and officers.

AB 392 by Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D–San Diego)

The signing of SB 230 came just a few weeks after the governor signed into law AB 392 by Assemblymember Weber (D–San Diego). AB 392 brings California’s legal standard for when force can be used in line with the U.S. Supreme Court standard — a standard that law enforcement agencies and departments throughout California already adhere to. PORAC worked diligently with the authors of AB 392 and our state’s legislative leaders to amend the original version of AB 392 to prevent the adoption of any language that would make it even more challenging for our officers to protect our communities and themselves — a testament of their commitment to standing behind our law enforcement community as they work to improve public safety for everyone. Because of these amendments, nearly all California law enforcement organizations took a neutral position on the legislation. PORAC’s highest priority was to ensure that AB 392 would not add to the dangers that our men and women in uniform face every day. The language contained in AB 392 is consistent with current case law and will now be codified in California law as well. AB 392 will not significantly impact the way law enforcement officers perform their daily jobs as the bill still retains the “reasonableness” standard set forth in the Supreme Court’s 1989 Graham v. Connor ruling.

End of Session

On Friday, September 13, the Legislature adjourned the first half of the 2019–2020 legislative session. Governor Newsom has until midnight on October 13 to sign or veto the multitude of bills that have recently been sent to him. If he does not take action on a bill, it automatically becomes law without his signature. As per usual, both houses of the Legislature saved the most hotly debated bills for the last weeks of session. Over the next few weeks, Governor Newsom has significant issues to consider, including issues that will directly affect PORAC membership.

In next month’s Capitol Beat report, we will provide a recap of PORAC’s priority legislation and bills that have or will become law in California. 

As always, please do not hesitate to contact the team at Aaron Read & Associates if you have any legislative questions or concerns at (916) 448-3444, or email Aaron Read (aread@aaronread.com), Randy Perry (rperry@aaronread.com) or Michele Cervone (mcervone@aaronread.com). We are proud to be a part of the PORAC family.