Capitol Beat – End-of-Session Report

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

On Friday, August 31, the Legislature adjourned the final half of its 2017–18 session. Governor Brown has until midnight on September 30 to sign or veto the multitude of bills that have just been sent to him. If he does not take action on a bill, it automatically becomes law without his signature.

This last year, there were huge attacks on law enforcement. We were on the defensive far more than we were able to play offense. The shining light was that we were able to stop AB 931 (Weber) in the Senate Rules Committee. However, we have been asked to work on the issues over the next several months, because there is no doubt Assembly Member Weber will be back with another bill. We have made it clear that there is no way we can ever accept a bill that changes the use-of-force standard from reasonable to necessary. We have offered up other suggestions for policy changes, but those have so far been rejected by Weber and her sponsors, the ACLU, Black Lives Matter, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and the First Amendment Coalition.

Below is an update on PORAC’s priority bills that have made it to the governor’s desk this legislative session, along with a summary of the measures. By the time you read this, the outcome of all enrolled bills will be known. We will provide a more detailed analysis of the year’s activities at PORAC’s Annual Conference in November.

Enrolled to Governor

There are nine bills enrolled to the governor; six of those are bills that PORAC actively opposes. Eight are on the governor’s desk and he’s already signed the ninth, SB 10. PORAC is requesting the governor to veto all of our actively opposed bills.

AB 186 by Assembly Member Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), Controlled substances: safer drug consumption program — Active Oppose. This bill would, until January 1, 2022, authorize the City and County of San Francisco to approve entities to operate overdose prevention programs for adults that satisfy specified requirements, including a hygienic space supervised by health care professionals where people who use drugs can consume pre-obtained drugs, sterile consumption supplies and access to referrals to substance use disorder treatment. The bill would require any entity operating a program under its provisions to provide an annual report to the City and County, as specified. Since PORAC took an Active Oppose position on this bill, it has been amended to apply only to the City and County of San Francisco.

AB 748 by Assembly Member Philip Ting (D-San Francisco), Disclosure of video and audio recordings: peace officers — Active Oppose. AB 748 requires disclosure, with several tolling provisions and restrictions, of audio or video recordings when an officer discharges a firearm at a person or where the use of force by an officer results in death or great bodily injury. This measure was amended to allow agencies up to a year before they had to release the footage. However, the agency must give reasons for the delay in release every 45 days.

AB 1749 by Assembly Member Tom Daly (D-Anaheim), Workers’ compensation: off-duty peace officer — Co-Sponsor. Unlike most jobs, law enforcement is uniquely trained on how to react to attacks on the public. AB 1749 would ensure that California’s workers’ compensation system covers peace officers who acted outside of state boundaries and were injured, regardless of their injuries. This legislation was sponsored as a result of the Las Vegas mass shooting, in which several California peace officers were injured.

AB 3131 by Assembly Member Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), Law enforcement agencies: military equipment — funding and acquisition — Active Oppose. Originally, this bill would have required law enforcement agencies to obtain approval of the applicable governing body, by adoption of a military equipment impact statement and a military equipment use policy, by ordinance at a regular meeting held pursuant to specified open meeting laws, prior to taking certain actions relating to the funding, acquisition or use of military equipment. AB 3131 was recently amended to remove the required approval process. The bill now only requires agencies to report military equipment purchased from the federal government and use policies relating to the equipment.

SB 1086 by Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), Workers’ compensation: firefighters and peace officers — Co-Sponsor. This bill removes the sunset on the extended statute of limitations provided for certain injuries for families applying for the workers’ compensation death benefit. It is the continuation of an effort by PORAC and the California Professional Firefighters (CPF) to extend the cancer presumption two years ago.

SB 1195 by Senator Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge), PORAC Insurance & Benefits: health plans — Sponsor. This bill would authorize PORAC’s Insurance and Benefits Trust to offer different health benefit plan designs with varying premiums in different areas of the state. It would prohibit the trustees of these health benefit plan trusts from using geographic regions that are different from the geographic regions established by the board for the regional premiums authorized for contracting agencies, except as specified.

SB 1393 by Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), Judicial discretion over five-year enhancement for serious felonies — Active Oppose. Current law requires the court, when imposing a sentence for a serious felony, in addition and consecutive to the term imposed for that serious felony, to impose a five-year enhancement for each prior conviction of a serious felony. Existing law generally authorizes a judge, in the interests of justice, to order an action dismissed, but precludes a judge from striking any prior serious felony conviction in connection with imposition of the five-year enhancement. This bill would delete the restriction prohibiting a judge from striking a prior serious felony conviction in connection with imposition of the five-year enhancement described above and would make conforming changes.

SB 1421 by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), Criminal procedure and sentencing — Active Oppose. SB 1421 was the measure calling for the release of certain parts of an investigation involving uses of force causing death or great bodily injury, or the discharge of a firearm at a person. An additional section required the same disclosure for a complaint where, after final adjudication, it has been sustained against the officer for force resulting in death or GBI, dishonesty or sexual crimes by that officer.

Signed by Governor

SB 10 by Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), Cashless bail — Active Oppose.

This bill effectively eliminates commercial bail in California and redirects all pretrial and supervisory duties to county probation departments. The measure also sets up a pretrial system of release based on the type of crimes leading to the arrest. The new system created by SB 10 goes into effect October 1, 2019. This bill was heavily amended in the Assembly, so it may not be as bad as it was in its original form. We also defeated AB 42 (Bonta) last year, which was a parallel bill to SB 10.

Capitol Beat – Assembly Bill 931

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

PORAC and the advocates at Aaron Read & Associates (ARA) have lobbied against AB 931 with a diligence that reflects the seriousness of this bill. AB 931 will result in more deaths of officers and the public. If passed, this bill puts everyone at an increased risk of crime. 

 AB 931 limits the use of deadly force by a peace officer to situations where it is “necessary” to prevent imminent and serious bodily injury or death to the officer or to a third party. It would prohibit the use of deadly force by a peace officer in a situation where an individual poses a risk only to himself or herself. AB 931 would also limit the use of deadly force by a peace officer against a person fleeing from arrest or imprisonment to only those situations in which the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed or intends to commit, a felony involving serious bodily injury or death, and there is an imminent risk of serious bodily injury or death to the officer or to another person if the subject is not immediately apprehended.

At the time of this writing, the Senate had removed AB 931 from the Senate Appropriations Committee and referred it to the Senate Rules Committee. This allowed the Senate more time to consider suggested amendments or other options. This also allowed all parties to “negotiate.” However, PORAC has been very clear that as long as the bill changed the standard from “reasonable” to “necessary,” we have to protect the officer and public. If that was removed, other issues could be considered relating to training and policy changes.

If the Senate or the sponsors of the bill had wished to negotiate on amendments at this point, then those negotiations would have had to occur by the week of August 20. In addition, all amendments needed to be in print and to the Assembly floor by August 28. If no action was taken on the bill, and it remained with the Senate Rules Committee past the 28th, without rule waivers by the full Senate, AB 931 would stay with the committee for the year.

We understand that this report is outdated by the time it reaches your hands, but we hope it provides a glimpse into the legislative process and what PORAC handles on a daily basis. Oftentimes, like this, we are faced with an uncertain future. AB 931 was brought to our attention via rumors in the halls of the Capitol. That same day, a news conference was held by Assembly Member Kevin McCarty and Assembly Member Shirley Weber to introduce the bill’s language. From that moment on, PORAC’s leaders and panel attorneys, along with ARA, held many meetings to develop a strategy on how best to defeat this bill.

Law enforcement across the board agrees that AB 931, in its current form, is detrimental to law enforcement. Our hope is that as you’re reading this, the bill is no longer an issue. However, it’s important to understand that this battle is not going away anytime soon. During the past few years, we have seen legislation asking for transparency in officers’ personnel files, attacks on our pensions and now bills attempting to criminalize our officers for doing their job. PORAC and ARA continue to work hard to fight for you — our members — and provide safety and security for your families. We look forward to continuing this journey with you.

Capitol Beat – The Ballot’s Dozen

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

“As the people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived, it seems strictly consonant to the republican theory to recur to the same original authority … whenever it may be necessary to enlarge, diminish, or new-model the powers of government.” — James Madison, fourth U.S. president, The Federalist No. 49

During the 19th and 20th centuries, initiatives and referendums in California became increasingly popular. This idea of “direct democracy” in the United States was established so that, in essence, voters of each state could keep their politicians in check. Levels of government discontent pushed citizens to assume a more active role in democracy to assure that, as Abraham Lincoln stated in his Gettysburg address, “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Currently, 24 states have initiatives as part of their policy-making system. These measures cover topics ranging from taxes and education to public safety and dividing California into three states (yes, it’s true, and it almost ended up on your ballot in November). Any individual registered to vote has the ability to run a statewide initiative, although it’s no secret that for a successful ballot proposal, a hefty amount of funding is necessary (to reach the people, you might have to spend millions). State and local governments may differ in their initiative process; however, the basic system consists of the following steps:

  1. Preliminary filing with government official
  2. Review of the petition for conformance with statutory requirements
  3. Preparation of ballot title and summary
  4. Petition circulation to obtain the required number of signatures of registered voters
  5. Submission of the petitions and verification of signatures

(For more details on running a California ballot initiative, go to sos.ca.gov.)

A total of 12 statewide initiatives gained enough signatures to get on California’s November 6 ballot. Here is a quick breakdown of each.

Proposition 1, Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018: Authorizes $4 billion in general obligation bonds for housing-related programs, loans, grants, and projects and housing loans for veterans.

Proposition 2, Use Millionaire’s Tax Revenue for Homelessness Prevention Housing Bonds Measure: Allows counties to use money from Proposition 63’s “millionaire’s tax” on permanent housing for the homeless that includes a direct connection to social services.

Proposition 3, California Water Infrastructure and Watershed Conservation Bond Initiative: Authorizes $8.877 billion in bonds to fund projects for water supply and quality, watershed, fish, wildlife, water conveyance, and groundwater sustainability and storage.

Proposition 4, Children’s Hospital Bonds Initiative: Provides qualifying children’s hospitals $1.5 billion in bonds to fund grants for construction, expansion, renovation and equipping of hospitals.

Proposition 5, Property Tax Transfer Initiative: Allows homebuyers who are age 55 or older or severely disabled to transfer their tax assessments, with a possible adjustment, from their prior home to their new home, no matter (a) the new home’s market value; (b) the new home’s location in the state; or (c) the buyer’s number of moves.

Proposition 6, Voter Approval for Future Gas and Vehicle Taxes and 2017 Tax Repeal Initiative: Repeals a fuel tax increase and vehicle fees that were enacted in 2017, including the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (RRAA), and requires majority voter approval (via ballot propositions) for the California State Legislature to impose, increase, or extend fuel taxes or vehicle fees in the future.

Proposition 7, Permanent Daylight Saving Time Measure: Overturns a 1949 voter-approved initiative called the Daylight Saving Time Act, which established Standard Pacific Time in California. If voters approve the ballot measure, the Legislature would then decide how the state’s time should be set.

Proposition 8, Limits on Dialysis Clinics’ Revenue and Required Refunds Initiative: Would require dialysis clinics to issue refunds to patients or patients’ payers for revenue above 115% of the costs of direct patient care and health-care improvements.

Proposition 9, Three States Initiative or Cal 3 Initiative: Tasks the governor with asking Congress to divide the state of California into three states: California, Northern California and Southern California. These states would make their own decisions about state and local taxes and spending. On July 18, the state Supreme Court decided unanimously to remove this measure from the November ballot, “because significant questions have been raised regarding the proposition’s validity.”

Proposition 10, Local Rent Control Initiative: Repeals the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, thus allowing local governments to adopt laws and regulations to govern how much landlords can charge tenants for renting apartments and houses.

Proposition 11, Ambulance Employees Paid On-Call Breaks, Training, and Mental Health Services Initiative: Allows ambulance providers to require workers to remain on call during breaks paid at their regular rate, requires employers to provide additional training for EMTs and paramedics, and requires employers to provide EMTs and paramedics with some paid mental health services.

Proposition 12, Farm Animal Confinement Initiative: Establishes new standards for confinement of certain farm animals; bans sale of certain non-complying products. This initiative bans the sale of meat and eggs from calves raised for veal, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens confined in areas below a specific number of square feet.

PORAC monitors this process closely. If you have any questions, please contact Michele Cervone at (916) 448-3444 or mcervone@aaronread.com.

Capitol Beat – PORAC’s Priorities

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

By the time you read this, the Legislature will likely be in summer recess. When they return on August 6, there will only be four weeks left of the 2017–2018 legislative session. PORAC, along with Aaron Read & Associates (ARA), will be busy over the next several weeks working to support, oppose or amend legislation. (See the complete list of PORAC’s active support, active oppose and sponsored bills in the bill chart on the next page.) As mentioned in our previous article, law enforcement is primarily on the defensive this legislative session, opposing critical bills that would negatively impact our officers. Here is a list of some of the current issues that we are opposing:

AB 284 (McCarty, D-Sacramento): This bill inserts the California Department of Justice (DOJ) into the process of studying peace officer–involved shootings (OIS) resulting in a serious injury or death. AB 284 requires the attorney general to do a two-year study of past officer-involved shootings resulting in serious injury or death to determine whether there is a need for change in shooting policy and to make recommendations. The study would look at shootings from January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2016. PORAC played an active role in opposing this bill from the beginning. One of our arguments was that we didn’t believe legislation was needed for this issue. Under current law, the attorney general can already go in on an investigation. For this reason, Assembly Member McCarty made the decision to turn his bill into a budget augmentation of $10 million. We met with the Senate budget staff to continue our efforts to stop the request from being funded. We were recently informed that the Senate denied the McCarty budget proposal. As of right now, the funding for the DOJ OIS Investigation program is dead.

AB 748 (Ting, D-San Francisco): This bill requires the release of body-camera footage within 120 days, regardless of whether there is still an active, ongoing investigation, disallowing the use of redaction technology to obscure specific portions of the recording for law enforcement purposes and prohibiting the use of biometric technology on the video. At the time this article was written, we had just been handed amendments to AB 748 that purport to align with LAPD’s new video release policies. The amendments attempt to remove the negative impact this bill could have on ongoing investigations by allowing for extensions. PORAC’s lawyers are analyzing the amendments, and we will follow up when we have more information. AB 748 is currently awaiting a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

AB 931 (Weber, D-San Diego): This bill would limit the use of deadly force by a peace officer to situations where it is “necessary” to prevent imminent and serious bodily injury or death to the officer or to a third party. It would prohibit the use of deadly force by a peace officer in a situation where an individual poses a risk only to themselves. AB 931 would also limit the use of deadly force by a peace officer against a person fleeing from arrest or imprisonment to only those situations in which the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed, or intends to commit, a felony involving serious bodily injury or death, and there is an imminent risk of serious bodily injury or death to the officer or to another person if the subject is not immediately apprehended. Amendments are being proposed; however, as of this writing, they are not yet in print. PORAC’s leaders and panel attorneys, along with ARA, have been in many meetings over the last couple of months to develop a strategy on how best to defeat this bill. AB 931, in its current form, is detrimental to law enforcement and puts officers and the public at risk. This is our number one issue this year, and every effort is being put forth to keep the bill from moving forward. We will keep you informed as the situation progresses.

SB 1421 (Skinner, D-Berkeley): This bill permits inspection of specified peace officer and custodial officer records pursuant to the California Public Records Act (CPRA). SB 1421 provides that records related to reports, investigations or findings may be subject to disclosure if they involve the following: incidents involving the discharge of a firearm or electronic control weapons by an officer, incidents involving strikes of impact weapons or projectiles to the head or neck area, incidents of deadly force or serious bodily injury by an officer, incidents of sustained sexual assault by an officer or incidents relating to sustained findings of dishonesty by a peace officer. PORAC has met with Senator Skinner, her staff and the bill’s sponsors on many occasions and are working with her office on potential amendments. Stay tuned for more information. In the meantime, PORAC remains opposed.

Primary Election

As you know, the June 5 primary election is behind us. Incumbent legislators in both houses who were up for re-election advanced to the general election, which will be held on November 6.  

PORAC Training – Political Action/PAC Management

Political Action/PAC Management – PORAC Headquarters

Two-day class, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Political Action will look at the value and future of political action and political action committees (PACs) as they pertain to the law enforcement community. Participants will learn the value of establishing a PAC and receive an overview of the current rules governing campaign and PAC expenditures. Learn how to author a bill and how a bill becomes law. Also covered will be an overview of the legislative process, current legislation affecting law enforcement, how to interpret proposed language, campaign strategies, and your legal and fiduciary responsibilities.

PAC Management will begin with a review of the state campaign laws contained in the Political Reform Act of 1974 and the regulations of the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). Participants will work from the PORAC Political Action Committee (PAC) Guide, which will provide required information and documents necessary to establish and maintain a PAC, including definitions of legal terms, commonly asked questions and answers, record-keeping requirements, state and county filing addresses for campaign reports, tax rules, sample completed state and county filing addresses for campaign reports, sample completed federal tax forms and sample completed state campaign reporting forms.

 

Click Here to Register

Capitol Beat – Our Biggest Battle Yet

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

On May 8, PORAC leadership walked the halls of the Capitol for their annual Legislative Day. In past years, PORAC members met with their local policymakers to discuss PORAC’s sponsored, supported and opposed legislation. This year, however, we narrowed our focus down to three bills that, if passed, could greatly impact the safety of our officers and the public. It is important for legislators to understand what peace officers in California are facing, and we encourage you to join us in being a voice for your association as we continue to advocate for PORAC members. Below are two of the three bills discussed during Legislative Day. PORAC has sat down with their panel attorneys, stakeholders and policymakers on many occasions to discuss each of the measures explained below.

AB 931, the “Police Accountability and Community Protection Act”: Active Oppose

The intent of AB 931, by Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), is to authorize police officers to use deadly force only when it is necessary to prevent imminent and serious bodily injury or death. This bill abandons the “reasonableness” standard adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor.

PORAC agrees with the following:

  • The use of deadly force is a serious responsibility that must be exercised judiciously.
  • Every person has a right to be free from excessive force by officers acting under color of law.
  • Peace officers should be trained in a wide range of skills, tactics and tools, including de-escalation tactics and mental health assessment training.

PORAC opposes this bill for the following reasons:

  • The legislation fails to take into account that imposing a new standard for use of deadly force would require that every police officer in the state of California be retrained. The legislation fails to take into consideration the significant time that will be required to develop new training to adjust every officer’s mental and motor programs to the new standard, and fails to contain any funding mechanism for such standards.
  • The legislation defines “necessary” as meaning there is “no reasonable alternative” to the use of deadly force. Whether deadly force was the only reasonable option can only be determined in hindsight and does not allow for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments.
  • The cost of a “necessary” standard will be officer hesitation. This will place our communities at greater risk as officers delay their response to a rapidly evolving and dangerous situation in order to review and evaluate a checklist of options before acting to protect the public safety.
  • The existing standard already takes necessity into account. An officer can only use the amount of force that under the totality of circumstances is reasonable. For the force to be reasonable, it must be objectively necessary given everything the officer knew and believed to be true at the time the force decision was made.
  • An increased level of training rather than legislation would accomplish the bill’s mandate that officers consider alternatives, including de-escalation.

SB 1421, Criminal Procedure and Sentencing: Active Oppose

SB 1421, by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), states that an officer’s investigatory files will become public after the entire appeal process has been completed and if the officer’s complaint is sustained. The bill deals with the more-serious types of complaints, such as discharge of a firearm, discharge of a Taser, blow to the head or neck, use of force resulting in death or serious injury, sexual assault or dishonesty.

PORAC opposes this bill for the following reasons:

  • There currently exists an unfair appellate process; disclosing the findings prior to a court fully reviewing and analyzing the matter would unduly prejudice what could be an innocent officer.
  • The current law provides for confusion and uncertainty in the administrative disciplinary process; each department has its own regulations that it follows and some are more fair than others.
  • In a case with mixed allegations (i.e., the department chooses to “load up” the discipline by raising numerous allegations of misconduct, some of which would fall under the categories for disclosure and some of which would not), there is no way to parse out what should and should not be disclosed.
  • Should information about law enforcement discipline be publicized, a wave of habeas corpus petitions from convicted criminals would follow. Criminals previously arrested or investigated by an officer who is the subject of misconduct allegations would inundate the court system and render the court process confusing and unreliable.
  • There would, likewise and for similar reasons, be an increase in civil lawsuits brought against government entities, forcing them to expend a great amount of public funds on defense rather than on more important community needs.
  • Disclosing too much information about use-of-force incidents too early in the investigatory process could impede successful criminal prosecutions against officers.
  • Due to concern that their names might be disclosed, officers may hesitate before acting, creating an officer safety issue.
  • Officers being hesitant to become involved in an incident will potentially decrease the safety of communities (the “Chicago effect”).
  • The others involved in a case — e.g., victims and witnesses (not law enforcement) — would lose their right to privacy or be exposed to the general public in ways they might not want; there are no notifications or opt-outs available in the proposed law. Even if names are redacted, there are often ways the public can ascertain the identities of the involved parties.

The Federal Legislation Status Chart is available at porac.org/advocacy/legislation-overview/  

Capitol Beat – PORAC’s Priorities

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

2018 is the second half of the two-year legislative session, and it is turning out to be quite challenging. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other social justice organizations are sponsoring bills that range from bringing the attorney general into officer-involved shootings and the mandatory release of body-camera footage to the release of investigatory files and the severe restriction of the use of deadly force by officers.

In addition to these bills dramatically impacting the law enforcement profession, PORAC is working diligently to push legislation positively impacting the Peace Officers Bill of Rights (POBR) and the workers’ compensation system, as well as legislation to provide protections in California’s newly created Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory (RIPA) regulations.

Actively Opposed Bills

AB 284, Reporting of Officer-Involved Shootings, by Assembly Member Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento): This bill inserts the California Department of Justice (DOJ) into the process of studying peace officer–involved shootings resulting in death or serious injury. This bill also requires the AG to do a study of past actions to determine whether there is a need for change. AB 284 has been stalled; however, it is not dead. We will update you as information becomes available.

AB 748, Disclosure of Video and Audio Recordings: Peace Officers, by Assembly Member Philip Ting (D-San Francisco): AB 748 requires the release of body-camera footage within 120 days, regardless of whether there is still an active, ongoing investigation. It disallows the use of redaction technology to obscure specific portions of the recording for law enforcement purposes and prohibits the use of biometric technology on the video. PORAC, along with the other law enforcement organizations, will continue to fight this measure. As of this writing, AB 748 is sitting in the Senate Appropriations Committee; however, the issue is still very much alive. The sponsors, the ACLU and the Newspaper Publishers Association, are adamant about receiving this information and demand the video as soon as they can get it.

AB 931, “Police Accountability and Community Protection Act,” by Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D-San Diego): The intent of this bill is to authorize police officers to use deadly force only when it is necessary to prevent imminent and serious bodily injury or death. This bill abandons the “reasonableness” standard adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor.

AB 3131, Law Enforcement Agencies: Military Equipment — Funding and Acquisition, by Assembly Member Todd Gloria (D-San Diego): This bill would require law enforcement agencies to obtain approval of the applicable governing body, by adoption of a military equipment impact statement and a military equipment use policy, as specified, by ordinance at a regular meeting held pursuant to specified open meeting laws, prior to taking certain actions relating to the funding, acquisition or use of military equipment.

SB 1421, Criminal Procedure and Sentencing, by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley): SB 1421 states that an officer’s investigatory files will become public after the entire appeal process has been completed and if the officer’s complaint is sustained. The bill deals with the more serious types of complaints, such as discharge of a firearm, discharge of a Taser, blow to the head or neck, serious use of force resulting in death or serious injury, sexual assault, dishonesty, etc.

Actively Supported Bills

AB 2577, Personal Income Taxes: Deductions — Labor Organization Dues, by Assembly Member Adam Gray (D-Merced): For each taxable year beginning on or after January 1, 2018, and before January 1, 2023, this bill would allow, as a deduction from gross income, an amount equal to the amount paid or incurred for member dues paid by a taxpayer during the taxable year to specified labor organizations.

AB 2823, Violent Felonies, by Assembly Member Adrin Nazarian (D-North Hollywood): This bill would define human sex trafficking as a violent felony and expand the scope of violent felonies in cases of sodomy, oral copulation, sexual penetration and rape offenses, including if the victim was unconscious, incapable of giving consent due to intoxication or because of a mental disorder, physical disability and more.

Sponsored Bills

AB 1749, Workers’ Compensation: Off-Duty Peace Officer, by Assembly Member Tom Daly (D-Anaheim): Unlike most professions, law enforcement is uniquely trained in how to react to attacks on the public. Co-sponsored by PORAC, AB 1749 would ensure that California’s workers’ compensation system covers peace officers who acted outside of state boundaries and were injured, regardless of their injuries.

AB 3091, RIPA Legislation, by Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D-San Diego): AB 3091 will clarify the intent of AB 953 by Assembly Member Weber that individual officers not be identified through the data provided for the RIPA report. This bill simply states that the “unique identifying number shall not be subject to the California Public Records Act.”

SB 1086, Workers’ Compensation: Firefighters and Peace Officers, by Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego): Co-sponsored by PORAC, this bill extends in perpetuity the window of time during which the family of a public safety officer whose death is attributable to specified work-related illnesses is eligible to collect survivor death benefits. By permanently extending the survivor death benefit eligibility from 240 weeks to 420 weeks, it will ensure that these officers’ grieving families are not deprived of the benefits they deserve due to an arbitrary and unfair timeline.

Capitol Beat – High-Priority Bills on PORAC’s Radar

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

The second half of the 2017–18 legislative session is in full swing. Over 1,000 bills carried over from last year, in addition to the more than 2,000 new bills that were introduced and the hundreds more that have been amended. We are in the process of reviewing each of the new and amended bills and determining their impact on PORAC. As always, we will keep you updated in the weeks to come. In the meantime, below are a few of PORAC’s high-priority bills that will be on the forefront of our legislative efforts. 

PORAC-Sponsored Bill

AB 3091, RIPA Amendments, by Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D-San Diego): Assembly Member Weber’s 2016 bill, AB 953, created the Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board (RIPA) under the Department of Justice (DOJ), which mandates that all law enforcement agencies report certain “stop data” to the DOJ. The Act also created a RIPA Board that is tasked with developing the type of data and the guidelines surrounding the collection of that data. The RIPA Board is made up of 14 members appointed by legislative leaders and the Attorney General. In addition, the Board has named members, including PORAC, California Police Chiefs Association, California State Sheriffs’ Association and the CAHP. Law enforcement makes up four of the 14 members. Other named organizations are community, professional, academic, research, and civil and human rights organizations.

Over the past year and a half, the RIPA Board has been meeting throughout the state and has reported its findings and recommendations on the stop data to the AG. The AG has approved those regulations, and the initial agencies have begun to collect the stop data.

Throughout the process, PORAC has voiced its concerns with various parts of the regulations to no avail. However, one component of the regulations deals with the assignment of a “unique identifying number” to each officer providing stop data to their agency for the RIPA report. Because both the local agency’s report and the aggregate DOJ report is public information, PORAC believes that the unique identifying number for each officer could be subject to the California Public Records Act (CPRA).  Although in the final regulations created by the AG’s office, they attempted to protect the unique identifier, AB 953 does not sufficiently protect that information.

PORAC is sponsoring legislation this year that will clarify the intent of AB 953 that individual officers not be identified through the data provided for the RIPA report. PORAC’s legislation simply states that the “unique identifying number shall not be subject to the California Public Records Act.”

PORAC-Opposed Bills

AB 284, Reporting of Officer-Involved Shootings, by Assembly Member Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento): This bill inserts the California Department of Justice (DOJ) into the process of studying peace officer-involved shootings resulting in death or serious injury. Initially, Assembly Member McCarty introduced AB 86, which sought to have the AG set up three offices around the state to investigate such incidents. PORAC, along with other law enforcement organizations, worked to defeat AB 86, but then Assembly Member McCarty introduced a new bill, AB 284. AB 284 requires the AG to do a study of past actions to determine whether there is a need for change. AB 284 has been stalled; however, it is not dead. We will update you as information becomes available. 

AB 748, Disclosure of Video and Audio Recordings: Peace Officers, by Assembly Member Phil Ting (D-San Francisco): AB 748 requires the release of body-camera footage within 120 days, regardless of whether there is still an active, ongoing investigation, disallowing the use of redaction technology to obscure specific portions of the recording for law enforcement purposes and prohibiting the use of biometric technology on the video. PORAC, along with other law enforcement organizations, opposes this measure and will continue to fight it. As of this writing, AB 748 is still sitting in the Senate Appropriations Committee; however, the issue is still very much alive. The sponsors, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the California Newspaper Publishers Association (CNPA), are adamant about receiving this information and demand video and audio recordings as soon as they can get them. 

SB 1421, Criminal Procedure and Sentencing, by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley): This bill was recently introduced and is also sponsored by the ACLU and the CNPA. It is similar to SB 1286 (Leno, D-San Francisco) from 2016, but with some changes.

SB 1286 stated that after a complaint was sustained by the department, the investigatory files will be made public. SB 1421 states that those files will become public after the entire appeal process for the officer has been completed and if the officer’s complaint is sustained. The bill deals with the more serious types of complaints, such as discharge of a firearm, discharge of a Taser, blow to the head or neck, serious use of force resulting in death or serious injury, sexual assault, dishonesty, etc.

PORAC, CAHP and other law enforcement organizations are opposed to SB 1421 and will continue to work with the author to see if some type of agreement is possible in this area.

Capitol Beat – California, Cannabis and S.F. Police Reform

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

Over the past six years, the Legislature and supporters of medical and recreational cannabis have been working to rein in and organize the laws in California surrounding a movement that began with Proposition 215 in 1996. 

Recreational cannabis became legal this year due to the passage of Proposition 64 in November 2016. PORAC had opposed the proposition, but Californians overwhelmingly approved it. Fortunately, the Legislature had the foresight to create a regulatory structure before the initiative passed to avoid the major obstacles other states experienced when they legalized medical and/or recreational cannabis.

The California Legislature created, under the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Bureau of Cannabis Control. The Bureau’s sole jurisdiction is the regulation of medical and recreational cannabis, from “seed to sale.” It recently released emergency regulations and has begun distributing licenses from 17 categories.

The Legislature is still grappling with many issues regarding the legalization of cannabis. These include banking, taxation, marketing, labeling, location restrictions and environmental policy.

A major concern of public safety is that the number of motorists driving under the influence of marijuana will increase. The Legislature will be developing a strategy on how best to approach the issue and conduct appropriate field sobriety tests. PORAC hopes this will allow law enforcement to be proactive and ultimately reduce the number of accidents and fatalities due to driving under the influence.

PORAC understands that the climate is changing in California. Although the full outcome isn’t known yet, we will keep you apprised of changes as these new laws and regulations are enforced.

The Attorney General Steps Into S.F. Police Reform

In October 2016, then-San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee reached out to the Department of Justice’s COPS Office and asked them to complete a federal review of the San Francisco Police Department. This came after a series of racist and homophobic text messages between officers was disclosed and after the 2015 shooting of Mario Woods — which led to the police chief’s resignation. The review showed that use of force was more prevalent against African Americans than for any other race and police stopped African Americans at a disparate rate. The COPS Office also provided 272 recommendations for the Department to consider, including improvement in community policing, racial bias, use of force and recruitment.

Fast-forward to September 2017, when the DOJ announced that the COPS program would no longer assist law enforcement agencies on reforms such as those in San Francisco. On February 5, 2018, the City of San Francisco and Attorney General Xavier Becerra held a news conference announcing that the California Department of Justice will be stepping into the role of reviewing and reporting on the city’s progress in making the reforms. They will be the “independent eye” assessing what the police are doing. During the conference, the City said that the Department has implemented over half of the reforms recommended by the DOJ in 2016, and that uses of force fell 18% and citizens’ complaints dropped 9% in the last year.

Among the reforms implemented are:

  • Automated electronic audits to identify and root out bias
  • Procedural justice training
  • New units including a “Community Engagement Division”
  • Accountability/transparency — implementation of body cameras
  • Recruiting of a diverse force to gain different perspectives in regards to different cultures, countries of origin, education levels, religions, etc.

Attorney General Becerra said at the news conference that this is just the beginning and he hopes that the collaborative reform won’t end with San Francisco.