Capitol Beat – Taking Action on COVID-19

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

Legislative Update

As many of you know, the Legislature adjourned on March 15 as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Both Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon have proposed May 4 as a potential date to reconvene; however, that date is still to be determined as new information about the virus continues to be brought to light.

With that said, our legislative leaders have put in a request to their committee chairs asking them to limit their legislative packages to critical bills and issues surrounding COVID-19. Pro Tem Atkins shared in a recent press release that, personally, she would only be moving forward with two bills this year. All other efforts will be geared toward helping businesses, school districts and local governments find solutions to the more immediate problems brought forth by COVID-19. 

At this point, we are not sure what to expect with our priority bills; however, PORAC and Aaron Read & Associates (ARA) are steadfast in continuing to track the nearly 200 bills that could potentially impact our membership. We are receiving new updates daily, so by the time you read this article, we will likely have a better understanding of how our state plans to move forward.

For more information on PORAC’s highest legislative priorities, please see the bill chart on page 37 or online at https://bit.ly/2XxR7mA.

PORAC Virtual Town Hall Meetings

On March 25 and 26, PORAC virtually hosted four regional COVID-19 town hall meetings. ARA worked with PORAC, as well as PORAC’s federal advocates, Steptoe & Johnson, to invite and encourage our California federal and state elected officials from each region to participate. PORAC’s town halls proved to be successful, as many elected leaders and staff attended and shared their support for our members. Many legislators reached out individually after the meetings to ask what they could do to assist PORAC in our ongoing efforts to ensure the safety and security of our officers and their families, knowing full well the great risk you all are taking every day on the front lines of this pandemic. PORAC is encouraged by the vast support of many of our federal and state leaders and plans to continue holding town hall meetings to educate and inform our elected officials of PORAC’s needs and concerns as our officers bravely respond to COVID-19.

PORAC’s Requests to Policymakers

PORAC has worked diligently to draft legislation that establishes COVID-19 as a presumptive occupational illness to be covered under workers’ compensation. Because of the uncertainty around when the Legislature will return, and because it takes months to get legislation passed, we are also pursuing an executive order from the governor.  As we write this report, it is too soon to predict how this will turn out, but it’s imperative that we push to get appropriate relief for our officers who have or will come into contact with the virus. 

In addition to the workers’ comp presumption, PORAC has also asked the governor to assist in requesting the federal government to increase the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). PORAC has also asked for expedited testing and testing sites for all first responders who have been exposed to COVID-19, as well as to make quarantine space (i.e., local hotels, CSU or UC campus dorms and other facilities) available to officers who have been infected so as not to infect their co-workers and families. Furthermore, we encouraged our governor to address and put forth a list of best practice protocols for first responder agencies with mandatory minimum responses when it comes to PPE and quarantines offsite when an exposure has occurred.

As the largest law enforcement organization in the country, PORAC stands united as we meet the challenges presented by COVID-19.

Budget

The current budget is being severely impacted, and tax revenues, apart from capital gains taxes, have been severely reduced. Some estimates say there will be $7–$9 billion less in capital gains taxes this year. That’s not to mention lower personal income taxes from those who are at the top 1%, and for the tens of thousands of workers who have been laid off. We don’t know when this will end, nor do we know the full fiscal impact — and we likely won’t know for a few months. Pro Tem Atkins has established a special Senate Budget Subcommittee that will meet regularly to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Speaker Rendon announced a similar hearing for the Assembly to be held on April 20.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Aaron Read (aread@aaronread.com), Randy Perry (rperry@aaronread.com) or Michele Cervone (mcervone@aaronread.com).

Capitol Beat – Officer Wellness, Elections and the Future

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

Officer Wellness Budget Proposal

Peace officers experience more trauma throughout their careers than most people do in a lifetime. What others only see in headlines, our officers will likely come face to face with during their career. Without the resources to cope and manage the stress and trauma associated with being in law enforcement, our officers’ health and well-being are compromised. This year, PORAC is standing in strong support of the Officer Wellness Budget Proposal submitted by the California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA). This proposal appropriates $40 million out of the general fund to support peace officer wellness and mental health programs across California.

A report from the United States Department of Justice analyzing programs from around the country has highlighted successful approaches to improving officer wellness and mental health that are proven to decrease depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI) among officers. Many of these conditions have resulted in a suicide rate that may be three times the rate of the general public. The health and safety of our officers is of the utmost importance to us, and we will support any effort to improve the quality of life for the brave men and women who protect our families, homes and streets.

The $40 million proposed from the general fund will go to supplement existing funds to expand eligible programs that must meet the goal of improving officer wellness. Funds to each county will be used to support the following best practice programs that have been effective in improving officer residency and overall health:

  • Stress management training
  • Training in personal nutrition, exercise and self-care
  • Counseling with mental health professionals with expertise in first responder trauma
  • Access to self-service apps
  • Establishment of early warning systems
  • Expanding access to exercise and physical fitness
  • Development of mentorship programs
  • Access to mindfulness and yoga classes
  • Funding for Mental Health Services Units
  • Expanding access to crisis hotlines
  • Incentivized mental and physical health checks

Elections

In every election cycle, PORAC works very closely with our local associations on endorsements. We are a grassroots association, and the power of our group comes from listening closely to our members. The POAs, DSAs and chapters provide direction to the PORAC Executive Board of Directors on endorsements in their area.

Below is a survey of the results from the primary election on March 3.

PORAC chose to actively endorse in 39 of the 80 Assembly races. With the exception of Sylvia Rubio in Assembly District 57, our endorsed candidates came in either first or second, which allows them to move on to the November 3 general election. The competitive nature of the primary races requires us to research the candidates with greater intensity and understand more completely the politics of California’s neighborhoods.

Half of the 40-member Senate is up for election every two years. This year, the odd-numbered seats were on the ballot. After listening to our local members, PORAC made the decision to endorse in seven of the 20 Senate races. Working together, we successfully predicted the winner in six races.

There was one special election in Senate District 28, where former Senator Jeff Stone was appointed by President Trump to the U.S. Department of Labor. Assemblymember Melissa Melendez, whom PORAC endorsed, was one of five candidates in the race. While she received a majority of the vote, she did not receive more than 50%, which means a runoff will take place on May 12. As of this writing, the race is still too close to call for second place.

Fifty-three California congressional races were presented to the voters. PORAC membership asked for an endorsement in 20 races. We successfully predicted the outcome in 19 races.

Legislation

PORAC is following hundreds of bills during this legislative session that have a direct and significant impact on the way you do your job. The bills are consequential and, unfortunately, many are drawn from headlines rather than research. The target of these bills is the way the laws of California are enforced, which means they could impact the manner in which PORAC keeps the streets of our neighborhoods safe.

To follow PORAC’s current list of priority bills, please see the legislative bill chart in this issue, or go to PORAC.org/advocacy/legislation-overview for a link to PORAC’s interactive bill chart.

The Future 

The next couple of years are not going to be easy for any of us associated with law enforcement. Tough stories appear almost daily, and all of us read them. They impact us on the job and they impact the way we will prepare for our job. PORAC will continue to be the voice for law enforcement in California and provide the real-world insights that come from being the first line of defense.

Capitol Beat – Legislation on PORAC’s Radar

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

CPOMF Tax Check-Off Legislation

On Monday, May 4, the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation (CPOMF) will host the 44th annual California Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony at the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Monument on State Capitol grounds in Sacramento. The ceremony serves to formally enroll peace officers who have died in the line of duty the previous year, to pay tribute to the over 1,600 officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice since California became a state and to honor the families left behind. Our law enforcement family continues to experience tremendous loss, and this ceremony helps honor those who laid down their lives and ensure their legacy will live on.

In addition to hosting the ceremony each year and maintaining the grounds in which the monument stands, CPOMF also subsidizes survivor support groups and supports the families of our fallen heroes through educational grants and financial assistance programs. CPOMF is a nonprofit charitable organization that is fully funded through contributions; donations can be made directly to the fund. California law also allows taxpayers to make voluntary tax-free contributions directly to CPOMF on their personal state income tax returns. This tax check-off, dedicated directly to CPOMF, was first established in 1999 through a PORAC-sponsored bill. However, the initial bill had a sunset date, meaning it had a certain time period to fulfill its obligation of meeting a minimum contribution amount of $250,000 for any calendar year, or it simply expired, repealing the tax check-off on the tax return form. In the case of sunset dates, legislative action must be taken in order to extend the date. This year, PORAC, along with California Professional Firefighters (CPF), introduced AB 2068 by Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach), legislation that extends the CPOMF and California Firefighters’ Memorial Fund (CFMF) personal income tax check-off until January 1, 2031. AB 2068 will ensure the continuation of the Peace Officers’ Memorial and Ceremony, as well as continue the successful programs within CPOMF that provide support and services in recognition of fallen peace officers and firefighters in California. Please remember this important program during your tax preparation time.

PTSI Follow-Up Legislation

In 2019, PORAC co-sponsored SB 542 by Senator Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park), legislation relating to post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI). The bill passed through the Legislature and was signed by the governor on October 1. SB 542 creates a rebuttable workers’ compensation presumption for peace officers and firefighters in instances where they sustain occupational PTSI. Despite alarmingly high rates of PTSI and suicide among law enforcement officers and firefighters, up until now, California law did not contain a PTSI presumption. The issue with SB 542 is that it excluded certain specialized officers from the presumption. Senator Stern agreed to author follow-up legislation to SB 542 in an effort to incorporate many of those specialized officers into the new law. PORAC has submitted language to add to the bill, which is not yet in print, that includes our specialized members, as defined in Sections 830.31, 830.33 and 830.35 of the Penal Code. With our language added, PORAC has agreed to co-sponsor the bill. We believe the PTSI presumptions will help provide timely access to needed treatment, raise awareness and destigmatize these conditions for those whose mental health may depend upon seeking treatment.

L.A. County District Attorney’s Race

PORAC continues our aggressive efforts in support of incumbent Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who is facing recently retired San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón in the race for LADA. Gascón left his DA position in San Francisco specifically to relocate and run for LADA. Lacey is the first woman and first African American to serve as LADA in the history of the office. She has cracked down on human trafficking and fought for the most vulnerable populations. PORAC has joined with other supporters of Lacey to reach voters through targeted digital media, live phone banking and radio. By the time you read this, the results of the March 3 primary election will likely be known; however, it is projected that Lacey and Gascón will receive the most votes, thereby guaranteeing that this battle continues to the November general election.

Capitol Beat – A Challenging Road Ahead

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

Police transparency has been at the center of discussion, controversy and legislation since the introduction of SB 1286 by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) in 2017. During that time, we have seen bills introduced requiring the release of investigatory files, opening disciplinary hearings to the public and releasing information from an officer’s personnel file. PORAC, along with other law enforcement groups, has worked diligently to bring our thoughts, concerns and ideas to the table to reach reasonable solutions to address these issues. In 2018, PORAC introduced AB 1428 by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell) as a result of the highly publicized debate on police transparency. AB 1428 was a comprehensive measure determined to lessen the divide between police and the community by providing reasonable transparency without threatening the safety of officers and their families. The bill did not make it out of the Senate Public Safety Committee.

Fast-forward to today. On January 6, Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo County) began the 2020 legislative session with a gut-and-amend on AB 1599, ultimately creating a new bill requiring that if an officer resigns prior to an agency concluding an investigation, all information related to the incident shall be eligible for release to the public. While we agree that there are officers who deserve to face disciplinary actions, law enforcement is under more scrutiny than any other profession. With over 90,000 officers in California, there are very few cases in which an officer is found guilty of misconduct. The current accusatory rhetoric toward our officers is creating an environment in which they are hesitant to do their jobs and recruitment is becoming very difficult. Furthermore, it is creating a greater division between our officers and the public they serve. This is a dangerous position for California to be in.

PORAC opposes AB 1599 for the following reasons:

  • Individuals resign due to other reasons than guilt. Often, they do not want to drag their families through a tumultuous and public investigation.
  • Why is law enforcement singled out in this bill? According to the author’s office, it is because law enforcement is “held to a higher standard.” If this is the position the Legislature is going to take in the area of privacy of personnel files, then the bill should apply to all employees, especially those who work with vulnerable populations. Why doesn’t the bill apply to the Legislature itself?
  • One of the key concerns PORAC has with AB 1599 is the continued encroachment upon the privacy of an officer’s personnel files and the rights of that employee. This is an issue not simply of rights, but of safety for our officers. An accusation does not imply guilt; yet, when the media gets hold of that accusation, the lives of the officer and their family are changed forever.
  • Current law states that all accusations or complaints are to be investigated. An officer’s resignation does not usually change that, especially for sexual assault, where a criminal investigation is likely to ensue. In fact, PORAC’s sponsored bill, AB 1428, as mentioned above, was our proactive approach to clarify this issue. AB 1428 would have put in place rules for reporting the investigation’s progress to the complainant and would require the complainant to receive a final disposition of their complaint. To write into statute that all of these types of “accusations” filed against an officer shall be released because the officer leaves the department, as stated in AB 1599, is the wrong way to seek transparency of complaints. Finally, AB 1599 does nothing to protect the privacy of the victim, nor does it take into consideration other potential issues that may have been addressed in the same investigation.

AB 855 by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento)

After all the negotiations in 2019 and hours upon hours of drafting language and amendments relating to peace officers’ use of deadly force, Assemblymember McCarty has introduced language that would create a task force within the Attorney General’s Office to “study the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers and to develop recommendations, including a model written policy, for law enforcement agencies.” The bill would also allow the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review local agency use-of-force policies, as requested by the local agency. PORAC has serious concerns about this bill for many reasons. Chiefly, AB 855 does not spell out the makeup of the task force. For example, if the task force were to resemble the current Racial and Identity Profiling Act (RIPA) task force within the DOJ, it would cause serious concerns, since that task force is made up mostly of representatives from various social justice groups, churches and other non-law-enforcement organizations who have no expertise in local law enforcement use-of-force policies. Also, this body could potentially create a model policy that completely changes the current standard for when an officer may use deadly force. In the Assembly Public Safety Committee hearing on January 14, the author stated that nowhere in the bill does it mandate that these model policies would have to be adopted by local agencies. However, the reality is that once these model policies were made public, or any changes to an agency’s current policy were recommended by the AG, there would be immense public and political pressure to accept the changes, at a minimum. Moreover, the recommended changes could lead to potential lawsuits surrounding existing cases.

PORAC is in discussion with the authors of both AB 1599 and AB 855 to see if there is language we can agree on that would get close to their goals.

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

Capitol Beat – Looking Ahead in 2020

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

Legislative Update

This January marks the second year of a two-year legislative session. This means that we will see many of our 2019 priority bills moving through committee and floor hearings once again. Last year, there were over 3,000 bills introduced in the state Assembly and state Senate. On average, each bill is amended three or four times, so that means PORAC leadership, along with Aaron Read & Associates, reviewed over 10,000 bills, looking for those that have an impact on our members.

Bills that remain from last year, called two-year bills, must pass their house of origin by the end of January or they automatically die. Many of them have already passed their house of origin and are pending in the second house in 2020, but there are many that are waiting for action in January. On top of that, the Legislature will introduce at least another 1,000 new bills for 2020. Over the course of winter recess, PORAC leadership, along with Aaron Read & Associates, has had many discussions with legislators and stakeholders regarding the current political and social climate in California, and it is clear that we are going to have another tough year ahead.  

On the Horizon

We are hearing discussion about legislation being introduced that calls for law enforcement “licensing” or some form of a certificate that would make it so if an officer is found guilty of a crime, as specified, they would lose their ability to be a law enforcement officer. At the time this article was written, we have not seen any proposed language or legislation; we’ve only heard rumors. Consequently, PORAC is working with other law enforcement associations, our attorneys and consultants to determine the best course of action as it relates to any officers who are found guilty of a particular crime.

2020–2021 Budget

Governor Newsom will unveil his proposed 2020–2021 state budget on or before January 10. The governor will also give his State of the State address at some point in January, in which he will lay out his administration’s goals for the coming year. The state will continue to grapple with perennial issues, such as our homeless problem, wildfires and a housing shortage, to name a few. At the same time, there continues to be rumblings about a possible slowdown in the economy. The stock market has been a bull market for longer than normal and many expect a slowdown and possible recession to some degree. Hopefully, it will be nothing like what we experienced in 2008–2010. That said, the state does have a continuously growing rainy-day reserve set aside that is over $19.2 billion. The reserve consists of:

  • $16.5 billion in the Budget Stabilization Account (BSA), the state’s constitutional reserve
  • $1.4 billion in the Special Fund for Economic Uncertainties (SFEU), which is available for any purpose, including unexpected costs related to disasters
  • $900 million in the safety net reserve, which is available for spending on the state’s safety net programs like California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs)
  • $377 million in the state’s school reserve

Election Year

For most of you, this election year will be critical for your organization, your pension and the overall quality of your daily work life. Perhaps this election brings you hope for the future or quite possibly you share the concerns of millions of Californians that we need a more common-sense approach to governing. Aaron Read & Associates has been involved in elections and campaigning since we first opened our doors in 1978. What we have learned over the decades is that public safety has a voice, and it’s strong and credible. You don’t have to sit from the sidelines and watch — get involved!

This year, California has moved its primary election from June to March. That means there will be a lot of political ads on television, on the internet and in your mailbox — no doubt you will grow tired of seeing them. California moved the primary to an earlier date so that the state might have more influence on the presidential primary. We also have all 80 districts in the state Assembly up for election, as assembly members have two-year terms. Most Assembly districts have incumbents running for re-election, but there are several districts where there are vacancies due to a member retiring, moving on to a different office or quitting for some other reason. Half of the 40-member state Senate is up for election in 2020, as senators have four-year terms. The odd-numbered districts will be up for election this year, and the even-numbered districts will be up in 2022.

District Attorney Elections

As we mentioned in our previous report, the race for the new Los Angeles district attorney is heating up. California has 58 counties, and there are 58 district attorneys and, of course, 58 sheriffs. Sheriffs and DAs are elected countywide. In the last election cycle of 2018, we saw several incumbent DAs being challenged by liberal candidates being funded by an out-of-state billionaire named George Soros. Soros made his money running his own hedge funds. He has given away over $12 billion to various liberal causes. Most recently, he bankrolled the campaigns of several very liberal DA candidates throughout California and will no doubt continue to do the same in 2020. We have already seen a very liberal candidate, Chesa Boudin, win the DA race in San Francisco. The new DA openly campaigned saying he would prosecute police officers. He replaces George Gascón, who was the previous San Francisco DA and was equally liberal. Gascón is moving to Los Angeles, where he is challenging incumbent DA Jackie Lacey. DA Lacey is an African-American woman who has done a very good job as the incumbent district attorney. Gascón alleges Lacey is not hard enough on prosecuting police officers. In 2018, PORAC became financially involved in California’s DA races and will continue to be this election year. If Gascón becomes the DA of the most populous county in California, it will ignite the fire that started in 2018, and social justice groups will work aggressively to replace all current DAs with progressive, criminal justice reform supporters. Stay tuned.

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).

Capitol Beat – The California Climate

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

For four years now, we have talked about how drastically the pendulum has swung from California’s “tough on crime” stance of the 1980s and ’90s to the current position of releasing violent criminals, full officer transparency, increased use of body cameras and the intent to prosecute officers and send them to prison. But nothing speaks more to that swing than the high-profile election of Chesa Boudin, the new district attorney in the City and County of San Francisco.

Boudin is the son of former members of the domestic terrorist group Weather Underground. His parents were convicted of felony murder when they were part of a robbery that killed two police officers and a security guard when Boudin was just 14 months old. Subsequently, Boudin was raised by former leaders of the Weather Underground and later went on to study law at Yale University. A former deputy public defender, Boudin stands behind a campaign promising to eliminate first-time offense misdemeanor DUIs and replace them with diversion programs. This program, first implemented by former DA Gascón and then eliminated once the interim district attorney was appointed, is just one of many of Boudin’s progressive plans to reform the criminal justice system of San Francisco.

It was a tightly contested race between Boudin and Suzy Loftus, the current interim district attorney appointed by Mayor London Breed after George Gascón resigned from the position to run for Los Angeles district attorney. This move by Mayor Breed appeared to be an effort to give Loftus the advantage of incumbency. In fact, the majority of the San Francisco establishment endorsed Loftus, including Governor Gavin Newsom, State Senator Scott Wiener and U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris. Boudin’s grassroots campaign gained endorsements from Bernie Sanders, Black Lives Matter and other social justice groups, in addition to a few other San Francisco elected officials, including a local supervisor who led a “F*** the POA!” chant at Boudin’s election night festivities. Ultimately, Boudin’s campaign proved a greater influence over the voters of San Francisco.

The issue for law enforcement is clear. Throughout the country, progressive candidates for the office of the district attorney are being elected with a promise of extensive reforms to the criminal justice system. In California alone, we now have Boudin’s progressive predecessor, Gascón, running for district attorney in L.A. against Jackie Lacey, a moderate Democrat known for her tough-on-crime position. If their promises are kept, DAs like Boudin and Gascón will eliminate prosecution for certain crimes, including DUIs, drug offenses, soliciting sex and gang enhancements. These reforms are dangerous, not only to our officers but to the safety and wellbeing of our communities.

Looking Ahead

The legislature returns to begin the second year of a two-year session on January 6, 2020. All the bills that did not make it to the governor’s desk this year will continue during the second year from where they left off. In addition, new bills will be introduced in the second year, and the deadline to go to Legislative Counsel with new bill requests is likely late January. The final deadline for the introduction of bills is February 21. After that, the new bills have to sit in print for 30 days before they can be heard. Next year, we will have a combination of bills left over from this year, as well as new bills introduced in 2020. Lastly, the governor will unveil his proposed 2019-20 budget on or before January 10. He has already signaled through press comments that he believes there is a slowdown in the economy headed our way.

Thank You

We would like to take a minute to thank each one of you for your hard work this year. To say this year has been difficult would be an understatement. Between the increasing dangers officers are facing on the streets, the critically important issues we fought for and against, the legislative battles we waged and the vital discussions we’ve had with leaders and policymakers, 2019 was one for the record books. We are proud to be a part of your law enforcement family and we look forward to another successful year as your advocates.

Happy holidays!

As always, please do not hesitate to contact the team at Aaron Read & Associates if you have any legislative questions or concerns. They can be reached at (916) 448-3444, or you can email Aaron Read (aread@aaronread.com), Randy Perry (rperry@aaronread.com) or Michele Cervone (mcervone@aaronread.com).

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.

Capitol Beat – 2020 Elections

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

Election season has begun, as candidates are scrambling for campaign contributions and endorsements. The primary election is March 3, 2020, rather than the usual June primary date. In 2018, Governor Brown moved up the date to coincide with our presidential election primary, or “Super Tuesday.” This change was made because historically, the presidential nominees had already been determined by the time Californians cast their votes. A March primary gives California a more integral role in the presidential race. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of California’s key legislative races. In the Assembly, the vast majority of members who were elected in 2012 to 12-year terms still remain, so they are not termed out until 2024. Most incumbent legislators will likely win re-election. PORAC will be reviewing all 100 races that are up for election next year. All 80 Assembly seats are up in 2020 because they have two-year terms.

The Senate has four-year terms, so the odd-numbered Senate districts are up in 2020. The even-numbered districts are up in 2022. Here is a quick summary of the open seats, where there will be no incumbent running, as well as some of the more hotly contested races:

Assembly

There are three open seats in the Assembly:

  • AD 13: Susan Eggman is running for Senator Cathleen Galgiani’s seat because Galgiani is termed out.
  • AD 25: Kansen Chu is running for the Board of Supervisors, so he is vacating his Assembly seat.
  • AD 78: Todd Gloria is vacating his seat in order to run for mayor of San Diego.

These are races that could be contested in the Assembly:

  • AD 16: Rebecca Bauer-Kahan is new — she defeated the Republican incumbent, Catharine Baker, in 2016. Bauer-Kahan has a strong campaign and no opponent yet, so she will likely win.
  • AD 36: Tom Lackey is the incumbent; he is a retired CHP sergeant and a great friend to law enforcement. Assemblymember Lackey is in the same area as Republican Congressmember Steve Knight, who was defeated in 2018, so Democrats have targeted him.
  • AD 38: Christy Smith defeated an incumbent Republican. Assemblymember Smith is a strong member, so it is likely that she’ll keep her seat.
  • AD 68: Incumbent Republican Steve Choi will be challenged. He’s from Orange County, which has mostly been flipped from Republican to Democrat.
  • AD 71: Randy Voepel is a Republican incumbent and once again, San Diego County seems to be going from Republican to Democrat. Voepel is the only Vietnam veteran in the Legislature and he is pro-law enforcement.
  • AD 72: Tyler Diep is a Republican from Orange County. The Democrats will likely try to take him out.
  • AD 73: Bill Brough has had some allegations of sexual misconduct by a Republican woman in Orange County with whom he used to work, which has caused him some bad press. He will have an interesting race. AD 73 is likely a safe Republican seat.
  • AD 74: Cottie Petrie-Norris picked up a Republican seat in Orange County, but she has been supportive of law enforcement issues.
  • AD 76: Tasha Boerner Horvath picked up a Republican seat in North San Diego County and the Republicans will try to take it back. It’s difficult to know how it will go.
  • AD 77: Brian Maienschein, a former Republican, became a Democrat after he almost lost the election in 2018. He was likely to lose in 2020 if he remained a Republican, so he switched parties.

Senate

  • SD 5: As mentioned, Cathleen Galgiani is termed out and Assemblymember Susan Eggman is one of the candidates trying to replace her. This will be a contested seat, but will likely remain a Democratic one. PORAC has already endorsed Mani Grewal for this seat.
  • SD 13: Jerry Hill is termed out. Josh Becker is running, along with several others. In a rare move, Governor Newsom endorsed Becker early. PORAC likes Becker as well.
  • SD 15: Jim Beall is also termed out. Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese, former Assemblymember Nora Campos and Ann Ravel are all running. This will be a hotly contested race. PORAC has taken no position at this time.
  • SD 17: Former Assemblymember John Laird is running to replace Senator Bill Monning, who is termed out. It would be difficult to beat Laird in this seat. He is very well known and he’s been campaigning for months.
  • SD 19: Hannah-Beth Jackson is termed out. We are unsure who is running for this seat as of now. Speculation is either Assemblymember Monique Limon, Santa Barbara County Supervisor Das Williams or Santa Barbara Councilmember Jason Dominguez will get into this race.

As always, if you have any legislative questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the team at Aaron Read & Associates 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.  

Capitol Beat – Use of Force: Where Are We Now?

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

AB 392 by Assembly Member Weber (D-San Diego), the use-of-force bill we have been working against (but, as amended, we are neutral), passed the Senate floor on July 10. It was approved by both houses and is now enrolled and sent to the governor. PORAC and the law enforcement community worked diligently to ensure that AB 392 did not make it out of the Legislature in its original form, which would have created a “necessary” standard that eliminated officers’ right to self-defense by requiring them to exhaust all other alternatives before using deadly force. In April, the bill was dramatically amended. It now strengthens the state’s current standard for authorizing use of force, but its definition of “necessary” conforms to Graham v. Connor and the objectively reasonable force standard. Due to these amendments, PORAC removed our opposition to AB 392 and went neutral, as did all other law enforcement groups.

Our sponsored legislation, SB 230 by Senator Caballero (D-Salinas), is currently waiting to be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. SB 230 is on suspense file, meaning it is determined to have an annual fiscal impact of $150,000 or more; therefore, it will be heard at a special Appropriations hearing with the other suspense bills in late August. PORAC and the team at ARA spent nearly a year developing SB 230 and ensuring that it stays true to our original intent. SB 230 provides officers with the tools and training they need, including de-escalation tactics, interacting with vulnerable populations and alternatives to use of deadly force. We continue to receive pushback on our bill and requests for amendments from the opposition, but we oppose any substantive amendments. We are proud of the work of PORAC leadership has done on SB 230 and the commitment of Senator Caballero in maintaining the integrity of this bill.

The intense debate on use of force continues, but we are confident that our hard work will pay off. PORAC’s primary goal throughout this whole process has been to ensure the safety of our officers and the public we serve. PORAC has played a vital role in working with the governor, legislative leadership and stakeholders to communicate the needs of our members and reach solutions that everyone can agree on. Ultimately, as the largest law enforcement association in California, it is our job to advocate for a reasonable use-of-force package that includes training and sound policy.

Use of force is a topic that will likely be discussed for years to come, but we are confident in PORAC and ARA’s platform, and our strong relationship with our legislative leaders, to ensure that our voices are heard now and in the future.

Summer Recess

The kids aren’t the only ones who get a summer break in California. From July 12 to August 12, the State Legislature adjourns for summer recess. In a non-election year like this, the month is often spent traveling, spending time with family and connecting with constituents in their districts. Next year, it will likely be spent campaigning for re-election. July 12 marked the last day for policy committees to meet and report bills, but the bills that survive policy still have a long road ahead. The reality is, the job of the Legislature never ends.

When legislators return from summer recess, they will have five weeks to get their bills passed. For the team at Aaron Read & Associates (ARA), this means there will be days full of meetings, negotiations and long hours spent in our State Capitol building. Bills can continue to be amended on the floor until the deadline of September 6, and the final day for bills to pass in each house is September 13. If, in the five weeks after summer recess, a bill passes through both the Senate and the Assembly, it is sent to the governor, who then has 30 days to sign or veto it. If bills fail to meet deadlines, they are not necessarily dead; they can oftentimes be brought up again next year as “two-year bills.” However, there are hearing deadlines they must meet. In the coming months, PORAC, along with ARA, will continue to create opportunities to work with legislators and their staff to address the critical issues facing law enforcement.

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.