As Legislative Year Winds Down, Debate to Heat Up
Week of August 31, 2015 
By Shaun Rundle, Government Affairs and Public Safety Specialist 

Over the final two weeks of the 2015 legislative year, lawmakers will endure marathon floor sessions in the Assembly and Senate where bills that survived fiscal committees are to be debated. By Friday, September 11th all bills must be passed off the floor and sent to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature or veto. Despite opposition to a number of pieces of legislation that would hurt public safety operations by CPOA and other law enforcement associations, a few bills made it to floor debate over the last week regardless of significantly high costs to implement. These high-cost bills include AB 953 which deals with racial profiling data and SB 443, restricting federal asset forfeiture sharing. 

A bill of significant impact, and one that CPOA has joined other associations in opposing is SB 443 by Senator Holly Mitchell (D) of Los Angeles. SB 443 prohibits state or local law enforcement agencies from transferring seized property to a federal agency, and prohibit an agency from requesting an equitable share of seized property without a conviction for the underlying offense. A number of CPOA member agencies would be impacted by losing out on at least $30,000 in shared funding for federal participation. By changing the asset forfeiture proceeds distribution, Senator Mitchell’s bill will put all California law enforcement agencies out of compliance with federal asset forfeiture guidelines.  The US Department of Justice and the US Department of the Treasury have advised California law enforcement agencies that if SB 443 becomes law, all California agencies will be decertified from participation in the Federal Equitable Sharing Program. CPOA has joined the California District Attorneys Association in coalition letters of opposition to this measure, and has spoken to a number of legislators about this impact, but despite these efforts SB 443 passed the Appropriations Committee file, and awaits debate on the Assembly floor. 

In Senate Appropriations Committee last week, changes were made to another bill that is opposed by law enforcement. This bill is AB 953 by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D) of San Diego. AB 953 will be debated on the Senate Floor before the September deadline. The bill requires local agencies to collect and report data on traffic stops in order to deter racial profiling. A few of the changes made in Appropriations Committee are:

Phase-in mandated annual data reporting on stops to DOJ as follows:

     o Each agency that employs 1,000 or more peace officers shall issue its first round of reports on or before April 1, 2019.
     o Each agency that employs 667 or more but less than 1,000 peace officers shall issue its first round of reports on or before April 1, 2020.
     o Each agency that employs 334 or more but less than 667 peace officers shall issue its first round of reports on or before April 1, 2022.
     o Each agency that employs one or more but less than 334 peace officers shall issue its first round of reports on or before April 1, 2023.

Delete the provision requiring any peace officer who has a complaint of racial or identity profiling that is sustained to participate in training to correct racial and identity profiling at least every six months for two years.

Despite these changes, AB 953 will still incur major costs for local agencies to implement. CPOA will continue to contact the Legislature about these enormous costs, and members are encouraged to reach out to their local officials and request that they oppose this bill. 

One law enforcement-supported bill, however, also made it out of Appropriations Committee and will be debated on the Assembly and Senate floors. SB 333 (Galgiani D) is a Prop 47 fix that makes it a felony to possess date-rape drugs with intent to commit sexual assault. CPOA made supporting legislative fixes to Prop 47 a priority for 2015, and will lobby the bill to hopeful passage on the floor and sent to the Governor for his signature.

CPOA will provide updates on these bills as they are debated over the next two weeks.  

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