by Jason Burruel, Legislative Director
This week is Appropriations week in the Capitol. The Senate Appropriations Committee will be hearing hundreds of pieces of legislation before Friday night, the deadline for fiscal bills to be heard in their committee.
SB 55 is a bill that we are watching closely as it makes its way through Appropriations. This bill would require a repeat DUI offender to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on his or her vehicle for a specified period of time in order to get a restricted license or to reinstate his or her license. Because there is currently a pilot program in place, there are those that believe the legislature should wait to see the results before making any further changes to the IID requirements in California. Current numbers show that only 20% of those eligible for IID’s actually have them installed. After certain amendments were made, CPOA voted to support this legislation.
CPOA has been tracking 25 pieces of legislation pertaining to gun/ammunition and will begin taking formal positions at the end of May. The main reason for a delayed action is the expectation that much of this legislation will die or be gutted before then and by the end of May, we will have a clearer picture of which bills will be in play and which will not.
SB 53, authored by Senator De Leon, is a piece of legislation that CPOA will likely take a position on. SB 53 would regulate the purchase of ammunition in California. This bill would expand the Prohibited Armed Persons File to address persons prohibited from acquiring ammunition, and would similarly cross-reference those persons with records of ammunition transactions to determine if these persons have acquired or attempted to acquire ammunition. SB 55 would also redefine a vendor for purposes of ammunition sales to “ammunition vendor” and, commencing July 1, 2014, would provide only a licensed ammunition vendor may sell ammunition.
SB 374 is another piece of gun legislation that has garnered much attention in large part due to its author, Senator Steinberg. SB 374 would classify a semiautomatic, rim-fire or center-fire rifle that does not have a fixed magazine, and with the capacity to accept 10 rounds or fewer, as an assault weapon. This bill would require a person who, between January 1, 2001 and prior to January 1, 2014, lawfully possessed an assault weapon that does not have a fixed magazine, including those weapons with an ammunition feeding device that can be removed readily from the firearm with the use of a tool, to register the firearm by July 1, 2014. Additionally, SB 374 would require, on and after July 1, 2014, a Firearm Ownership Record to be submitted to the Department of Justice for every firearm an individual owns, with prescribed exceptions, including firearms purchased from a licensed firearms dealer and documented by a Dealers’ Record of Sale transaction and assault weapons registered with the department. This proved to be the sticking point for many of those in opposition to the bill. CPOA is currently watching this legislation.
Another piece of legislation that CPOA is watching closely this week is SB 566. SB 566 is authored by Senator Leno and would redefine marijuana as excluding industrial hemp, therefore making it legal to grow. SB 566 would also impose a testing regimen to ensure industrial hemp has no psychoactive properties and require reports from the Attorney General on any attempts to use the hemp law to circumvent marijuana restrictions and the Hemp Industries Association on the economic impact of hemp cultivation in California. SB 566 hinges on Congress passing comprehensive legislation that removes hemp from the definition of marijuana, thus allowing it to be grown for industrial purposes. We do not anticipate Congress moving on this any time soon therefore we are currently watching this legislation.
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