As lawmakers return from their annual spring break, there is little time for them to settle in. This week starts a two week sprint for bills to clear policy committees where we will see dozes of public safety bills heard before various committees.
AB 1717, authored by Assemblymember Perea would enact the Prepaid Mobile Telephony Service Surcharge Collection Act. The bill would establish a prepaid MTS surcharge based upon a percentage of the sales price of each retail transaction that occurs in this state for prepaid mobile telephony services. The prepaid MTS surcharge would include the emergency telephone users’ surcharge, and PUC surcharges. The bill would require a seller to collect the prepaid MTS surcharge from a prepaid consumer and remit the amounts collected to the State Board of Equalization pursuant to the Fee Collection Procedures Law. We have had initial discussions with the Governor’s staff regarding this legislation and committed to working with Governor Brown and Assemblymember Perea to find a resolution. Under AB 1717, a new State computer database would be constructed at a cost of $10 million with an annual maintenance cost of at least $1.7 million, paid for out of the SETNA fund. The formulas proposed in AB 1717 will result in carriers owing a lesser amount of money to UUT’s as well as higher costs for consumers. By creating a bifurcated collection system for the public purpose surcharge and user fee, it will raise administrative charges that will be passed on to the consumer. Because retailers will be collecting fees at the point of sale, AB 1717 allows them to keep 2% of the surcharge, user fee collection, and UUT’s. Another aspect of AB 1717 that is troubling is the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) questions whether they would retain any independent or meaningful audit authority over the prepaid carrier’s revenue. This bill did pass out of the Utilities and Commerce Committee but several Democrats did abstain from voting in committee. We are waiting for the referral for the exact committee date in Revenue and Taxation.
AB 2387, authored by Assemblymember Pan, Exempts the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) from specified notification requirements when entering into personal services contracts. Without this legislation, POST would need to go through the state civil service website prior to signing any personal service contracts. This legislation would exempt POST from that requirement and CPOA is in strong support of AB 2387. It is scheduled to be heard this week in the Assembly Committee on Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security.
AB 2121, authored by Assemblymember Gray would requires a sex-registrant parolee to report to his or her parole agent within one working day of release to have a Global Positioning System (GPS) device affixed to his or her person. AB 2121 builds on the foundation established in SB 57 (chaptered 2013) by ensuring that these dangerous individuals are not able to game the system and avoid the intent of SB 57 by never reporting to their parole agents. Whether they never show up, or later cut off their monitor, they will now receive the same mandatory sentence. CPOA is supporting AB 2121 and was passed out of the Assembly Committee on Public Safety this week.
AB 1894, authored by Assemblymember Ammiano is a redo of AB 604 from 2013. AB 1894 which would enact the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Control Act and would create the Division of Medical Cannabis Regulation and Enforcement within the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). As this bill is drafted, it appears unclear as to whether it applies to medical marijuana only, or marijuana for recreational use. This leads us to believe it is your intention with this legislation to facilitate the distribution and sale of marijuana for other uses than medical purposes. This lays the statutory framework of a business model for recreational, for-profit sales that have nothing to do with medicinal needs. AB 1894 places extreme limitations on the ABC’s potential collaboration with local law enforcement by making the ABC the sole entity responsible for policing the commercial registrants. As you know, the ABC is precluded from launching an investigation based solely on reports of controlled substance abuse submitted to or by local law enforcement. AB 1894 provides that someone may not be certified as a “mandatory commercial registrant” if they have been convicted within the past five years of a violent felony, a serious felony, a felony involving fraud or deceit, or any other felony that, in the opinion of the ABC. Therefore, a felon (5 years removed from their conviction) can be certified by the ABC as a commercial registrant that will be allowed to sell cannabis. This bill passed out of the Assembly Committee on Public Safety this week with strong opposition from law enforcement.