What's Happening at the Capitol

Week of August 18, 2014 
by Jason Burruel, Legislative Director 

With two weeks remaining in the 2013-2014 legislative session, both houses have roughly 950 bills on the schedule.  We can expect many late nights in the final 12 days of session. 

As is custom with the last month of every session, gut-and-amend bills become the norm.  We are currently preparing to get involved in one such bill.  AB 2662, authored by Assemblymember Gatto would require local governments operating a voluntary firearm buy-back program to process functioning handguns received pursuant to the buy-back program by either performing ballistics testing, a firearms trace, or by cataloging and storing the handgun.  While we have not taken a position in this legislation, we have already identified several issues with this proposal.  The key to a successfully fun buy back is the anonymity of the individual giving up the gun.  We are concerned that this bill would discourage individuals from participating in a gun buyback because of the lack of anonymity.  Another concern is having one statewide mandate on how to perform these buybacks, we believe that local governments have the best understanding of what documents are needed from the programs. 

SB 388, authored by Senator Lieu would create a right of representation for an officer who is not the subject of any investigation, but is being asked about the actions of others.  We believe that POBRA balances the public interest in maintaining the efficiency and integrity of a law enforcement agency with a peace officer’s interest in receiving fair treatment.  POBRA requires protection when an officer faces a formal investigation into matters that are likely to result in punitive action by an employer.  In the case of Pasadena Police Officers Association v. City of Pasadena, the court ruled that, “Thus, when allegations of officer misconduct are raised, it is essential that the department conduct a prompt, thorough, and fair investigation. Nothing can more swiftly destroy the community's confidence in its police force than its perception that concerns raised about an officer's honesty or integrity will go unheeded or will lead only to a superficial investigation.”  This will lead to investigations grinding to a halt.  By requiring formal representation for every officer that is questioned about the investigation of another officer, it will unduly delay investigations anytime an officer is asked about non-criminal misconduct.  SB 388 is currently on the Assembly Floor awaiting a vote.  CPOA is opposed to SB 388.   

AB 1517, authored by Assemblymember Skinner would set timelines for law enforcement agencies and crime labs to perform and process deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing of rape kit evidence.  A law enforcement agency would need to submit a rape kit to a crime lab within 20 days of being booked into evidence.  The crime lab would then be encouraged to upload qualifying DNA profiles into the combined DNA Index System no later than 120 days after initially receiving the evidence.  Due to the recent round of amendments, CPOA is currently re-analyzing our neutral position. 

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