Author’s note: When I wrote this article eight years ago, LEOs around the country identified with it — some said it was the best portrayal of our reality they’d ever read. Well, things have gotten a lot harder since then, and I think the Cop Matrix is more dangerous than ever. Together, we can do something about this reality that affects us and our families. This is actually why I started my LEO nonprofit, 360ARMOR. Please have a read and consider how much of the Cop Matrix you reflect.
Defeating AB 392 and ensuring the success of SB 230 continues to be our top priorities this year. AB 392 (Weber) was heard in the Assembly Public Safety Committee on April 9. The bill was debated for more than three hours. Ultimately, and as expected, the bill passed out of committee on a party line vote of 6–2. It now goes to the Assembly Rules Committee. At the time of this writing, SB 230 was not yet heard in Senate Public Safety but, as always, we will keep you apprised as developments occur.
PORAC came to Washington, D.C., the last week of March to discuss several issues important to law enforcement. Over two days, PORAC met with California Senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein, 18 California members of Congress, staff members of more than 25 California representatives and staff of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees — the committees that have legislative authority over law enforcement-related matters. A brief description of each issue that PORAC discussed with Congress follows.
On April 23rd Senate Bill 230, authored by Senator Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) and sponsored by PORAC, and a coalition of Law Enforcement Associations made its way out of the Senate Public Safety Committee with a unanimous vote of 7-0. From here, the bill will continue on to Senate Appropriations Committee where an estimated monetary value will be established.
While America was captivated in March by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament, Washington was preparing for its busiest time of year — appropriations (funding) season. With the fiscal year (FY) 2019 funding bill signed,1 lawmakers have begun to focus on FY2020 legislation. Congress is in the preliminary stages of appropriations; members of the Appropriations Committee are beginning to hold hearings with relevant agencies to discuss funding priorities. On March 11, President Donald Trump published his 2020 budget proposal, the first step in the federal appropriations process.
Through the leadership of President Brian Marvel and lobbyists Randy Perry and Aaron Read, PORAC and a coalition of law enforcement stakeholders successfully prevented a strong legislative effort last session to radically limit peace officer rights to self-defense and defense of others. Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D–San Diego) introduced Assembly Bill 931 on behalf of the ACLU and a coalition of anti-law-enforcement zealots to redefine the necessary standard for the use of deadly force set by the U.S. Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor. PORAC successfully opposed this unconstitutional attempt to erode peace officers’ inalienable right to self-defense.
Over 2,750 bills have been introduced this year. Of those bills, PORAC is tracking over 215 that potentially have an impact on law enforcement or the safety of the communities we serve. All hands are on deck as we diligently work to pass PORAC’s sponsored bill, SB 230 by Senator Anna Caballero (D–Salinas), and actively oppose AB 392 by Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D–San Diego). Last month’s PORAC LE News highlighted SB 230, which was introduced by law enforcement to proactively address use-of-force policies, guidelines and training.
During the last week of January, PORAC Vice President Damon Kurtz visited Capitol Hill for a busy day of meetings with members of Congress and their staff. Mr. Kurtz met with representatives from nearly a dozen congressional offices and met directly with five members of Congress. Vice President Kurtz’s visits served several purposes. It enabled him to introduce himself as PORAC’s new vice president.