CSAC Bulletin Article

Administration of Justice Bill Updates

August 27, 2021

Yesterday, the Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees met to decide the fate of the suspense files. Combined, the Suspense Hearings considered over 520 pieces of legislation.

Top Priority AOJ Bill in the Senate

The main public safety bill that CSAC has been very active on was among this expansive list of legislation in the Senate.

SB 586 (Bradford): Eliminates several criminal justice-related fines and fees. The measure aims to reduce the disproportionate impact that the current system of criminal justice fines and fees has on low-income individuals. However, the bill does not yet provide sustainable backfill funding to counties and essentially shifts the fiscal burden for core programs and services from court-involved individuals to the counties.  SB 586 is substantially similar to SB 144 (Mitchell, 2019/20) which CSAC opposed until it was transitioned to a smaller scope AB 1869 and backfill funds were included for counties. CSAC, UCC and RCRC have expressed our concerns to the author and stakeholders. With a commitment from the author to address the fiscal impact on counties, we have also partnered on an effort to develop a statewide fiscal impact estimate. SB 586 passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee Suspense Hearing with technical amendments and is headed to the Assembly Floor. Meanwhile, budget deliberations continue on a parallel effort to eliminate additional, unspecified criminal justice fees as earmarked in the final 2021-22 budget. CSAC will continue conversations with the author and stakeholders and share further information as it is available.

Other Noteworthy Bills AOJ is Tracking

Many other legislative measures of interest were acted on yesterday. CSAC is continuing to monitor these measures for consistency with our policy platform.

SB 2 (Bradford): Creates a statewide de-certification process for peace officers. SB 2 passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee Suspense Hearing with amendments and is headed to the Assembly Floor.

SB 262 (Hertzberg): Requires zero bail for all offenses except serious or violent felonies, violations of specified protective orders, stalking, looting, battery against a spouse, sex offenses and driving under the influence, among others. This bill also requires Judicial Council to prepare, adopt and annually revise a bail schedule for all remaining offenses still subject to bail. This bill also requires a court to order a return of money or property paid to a bail bond company under specified circumstances, including when the individual makes all court appearances in a criminal case charged in connection with the arrest or where no charges are filed within 60 days, as specified. SB 262 passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee Suspense Hearing with amendments and is headed to the Assembly Floor.

SB 98 (McGuire): Allows duly authorized representatives of a news service, as specified, to enter areas that have been closed by law enforcement because of a demonstration, march, protest or rally and prohibits officers from citing members of the press for failure to disperse, a violation of a curfew or a violation of resisting, delaying or obstructing the duties of a peace officer. SB 98 passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee Suspense Hearing with amendments and is headed to the Assembly Floor.

AB 26 (Holden): Would require policies of law enforcement agencies to require officers to immediately report potential “excessive force,” as specified, to require that an officer who fails to intercede be disciplined up to and including in the same manner as the officer who used excessive force. AB 26 passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee Suspense Hearing and is headed to the Senate Floor.

AB 731 (Bauer Kahan): Would require the sheriff in each county to compile and submit data to the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) on the county’s anti-recidivism programs and success rates in reducing recidivism. AB 731 passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee Suspense Hearing with amendments that require sheriffs to provide a list of educational, rehabilitative, and exercise opportunities provided in each jail; the number of participants; the costs of administering each program; and the overall recidivism rate for each county jail. AB 731 is headed to the Senate Floor.

AB 990 (Santiago): Would establish the right to personal visits for each person serving a sentence in state prison or county jail for a felony conviction and would prohibit infringement upon specified statutory civil rights, except as necessary and only if narrowly tailored to further the legitimate security interests of the government.  This bill would also establish a cause of action to challenge a government action that is alleged to have infringed upon any of the specified civil rights. AB 990 passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee Suspense Hearing with amendments to exempt in-person visits in jails as provided by existing law, limit the prohibition on denying in-person contact visits to CDCR (and include family visits within this provision), and require CDCR to inform a person of the specific reason for the denial of a visit. AB 990 is headed to the Senate Floor. CSAC is working to clarify the specifics of the amendments to determine a revised position.

AB 48(Gonzalez): Places a general ban on the use of kinetic energy projectiles and specified chemical agents by law enforcement upon public assemblies, subject to specified exemptions.  Additionally, this bill increases the requirements that law enforcement agencies report specified uses of force to the Department of Justice. AB 48 passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee Suspense Hearing with amendments that change the reporting requirements, in part, by requiring agencies to post a summary of incidents on their website and require DOJ to provide a compiled list of these links on its website; allows the use of less-lethal munition by a peace officer to bring an objectively dangerous and unlawful situation safely and effectively under control; and excludes county detention facilities from specified provisions. AB 48 is headed to the Senate Floor.

SB 16 (Skinner): Expands categories of police and custodial personnel records subject to disclosure pursuant to the California Public Records Act (CPRA). SB 16 passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee Suspense Hearing with amendments that do not prohibit the disclosure of factual information provided by the public entity to its attorney; billing records related to the work done by the attorney; and does not prohibit the public entity from asserting that a record or information within the record is exempted or prohibited from disclosure per lawyer-client privilege. SB 16 is headed to the Assembly Floor.

 

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