BRIAN R. MARVEL
Legislative Priorities Updates
For this month’s message, I want to provide you with an update on the work PORAC is doing on the legislative front, reinforce the value of PORAC’s trusts that all members should be taking advantage of and share with you some of the work we are doing to proactively promote the PORAC brand in California and also nationally.
Senate Bill 2
As you know, PORAC’s lobbying team has been working very closely with legislators and other law enforcement advocates to secure amendments to Senator Bradford’s SB 2, which would establish a new licensure program. We know the vast majority of peace officers are good public servants doing incredible work every day in their communities. In today’s 24-hour news cycle, where any citizen with a cellphone can capture those moments when officers are interacting with members of our communities, even isolated incidents of perceived officer misconduct can set us back. As such, the media’s portrayal of law enforcement, without context or authoritative analysis, makes our jobs even more difficult when it comes to legislation.
PORAC agrees that for specific and egregious incidences of proven and sustained misconduct, there should be a process in California for reviewing an officer’s actions for potential decertification of their license to practice law enforcement. But SB 2 is not it! At least not in its current form.
SB 2 was recently amended before being approved on the Senate floor, moving it to the Assembly. Unfortunately, none of those amendments had anything to do with the licensing process, which is still biased, flawed and poorly written in a way that would infringe on officers’ rights to due process. For these reasons, PORAC remains opposed to SB 2.
We know that major policy shifts can be alarming, but changes like this are coming down the pike regardless, and it is always better to be a part of the solution than to sit on the sidelines and get steamrolled! As the bill heads to the Assembly Public Safety Committee, PORAC is committed to working with the author and his fellow legislators to make the changes we know would establish a fair and unbiased licensing process, with due process, that law enforcement can support.
Assembly Bill 89
This year, PORAC was proud to co-sponsor SB 387 to increase opportunities for prospective officers to further their educations with additional coursework that would help to better prepare today’s officers for the challenges of modern-day policing. You may know that competing legislation was also introduced, AB 89, that would have required officers to have a four-year degree and be 25 years of age before they could even begin their training to become a peace officer. That was a nonstarter for PORAC. We did not want to shrink the candidate pool; finding qualified individuals is already difficult. Additionally, the coursework to prepare young men and women to become officers must be related to our profession.
After many back-and-forth negotiations, we are pleased to report that we are close to reaching a compromise. As a result of those negotiations, SB 387 has been merged into AB 89. The 25-year minimum age requirement has been removed. The new requirement is that recruits must be 21 years of age and either have a four-year degree or have completed a set of enhanced POST courses as was defined by SB 387, with special consideration given for prior military service or law enforcement experience. We are working to further amend the bill. While we still have more work to do before we can fully support the legislation, we are satisfied with the direction it is heading in.
PORAC Trusts: LDF, RMT and IBT
I think most members are aware of the value of the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) trust. In this highly litigious culture of ours, and with the increasing challenges facing our profession today, having access to the best possible attorneys, experts and investigators can make or break a case and is an absolute necessity. LDF provides access to the top legal resources and covers all the costs associated with your legal matter. Learn more at PORACLDF.org.
Investing in your health in retirement is another absolute necessity! PORAC’s Retiree Medical Trust (RMT) is a huge benefit for our retired associate members, but it is also a benefit that all members can and should utilize. Have you given any thought to how you will cover medical expenses after you retire and do not receive insurance through an employing agency, like a city or county? If you have not, you should start. The RMT is a financial tool that allows current members to save money tax-free today, accrue interest tax-free and cover medical expenses in retirement tax-free as well. Learn more at PORACRMT.org.
While you’re looking into how you can cover medical expenses in retirement through the RMT, it is also worth exploring the variety of insurance plans available through PORAC’s Insurance and Benefits Trust (IBT). For more than 45 years, PORAC has been providing members with comprehensive insurance coverage and benefits at a reasonable and affordable price while helping members to understand how these products can best protect you and your loved ones. If you are not eligible for health insurance, investigate accessing PEMCHA with your locality. Learn more at IBTofPORAC.org.
PORAC Branding Campaign
Getting PORAC’s name out there will increase recognition, credibility and the impact PORAC can have on the state and national levels as we advocate for new policies and to protect our members’ rights and benefits.
I recently wrote about the importance of our communications efforts, and our branding campaign is a natural extension of those efforts. As part of the campaign, we are building out our communications team to focus more on the use of social and digital tools for promoting and advocating for the policies and programs that we know will set our members up for success.
In addition, PORAC is partnering with our three trusts and kicking our social and digital media game up a notch. We will use this educational campaign to distinguish PORAC from our competitors, clarifying what we have to offer and why we are the better choice. This will include our current partnership with Kyle Weatherman and the addition of a race in August. I am looking forward to sharing more details in the coming months.
Happy Independence Day!