Administration of Justice Bills of Interest
June 1, 2017
SB 142 (Beall) – Criminal Offenders: Mental Health.
As Amended May 26, 2017 – Support
SB 142 by Senator Jim Beall, as amended, would incentivize counties to invest more in effective local mental health services by sharing state savings when a county reduces the number of people with mental illness sent to state prison. This measure would establish the State Community Mental Health Performance Incentives Fund that would provide monetary incentive payments to counties. These payments would be made available to the County Board of Supervisors for utilization by county and other local community mental health programs to provide adult offenders with treatment services that address mental health needs and risk factors for incarceration. SB 142 will reduce crime, save money for local communities, and assist in alleviating the growing population of mentally ill individuals in state and county detention facilities. SB 142 passed out of the Senate Public Safety Committee 7-0, passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee 5-1, passed off of the Senate Floor 35-4 and is waiting to be heard in the Assembly.
SB 421 by Senator Scott Wiener, as amended, would establish a statewide tiered sex offender registry system that includes juvenile and adult registrants. California has over 100,000 registered sex offenders and is in need of a registry system reform that focuses on high-risk and violent sex offenders. Law enforcement agencies cannot effectively protect the community when they are in the office handling monthly or annual administrative paperwork for low-risk offenders. By implementing a tiered sex offender registry system, SB 421 would be a proactive public safety policy that allows law enforcement agencies to concentrate their investigative efforts on ensuring that high-risk and violent offenders comply with the law. The recent amendments to SB 421 add two registration tiers for juvenile registrants. SB 421 passed out of the Senate Public Safety Committee 6-1, passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee 5-2, passed off the Senate Floor 27-11 and is waiting to be heard in the Assembly.
AB 790 by Assembly Member Mark Stone would require that eligible inmates at federal, state, and local detention facilities and eligible patients at Department of State Hospital’s (DSH) facilities qualify for a reduced application fee to obtain a California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) identification card (ID). Identification cards can assist in an individual’s ability to transition back into society and aid in obtaining employment, health benefits, and services. AB 790 passed out of the Assembly Transportation Committee 13-1, passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee 16-0, passed off of the Assembly Floor 66-6 and is set to be heard in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on June 6, 2017.
AB 789 by Assembly Member Blanca Rubio would provide courts with discretion to approve own recognizance (OR) releases for individuals arrested for certain offenses who have three prior failures to appear (FTA), without holding a hearing in open court, under a court-operated or court-approved pretrial program. Existing law requires a hearing in open court before an offender arrested for certain offenses, who has previously failed to appear in court three or more times over the preceding three years, may be granted OR release. In counties where a sizeable portion of those arrested already have multiple FTAs due to jail overcrowding and other factors, the restriction within the law limits judicial discretion and court’s efficient use of pretrial release programs. AB 789 will encourage more efficient processing of criminal cases, more appropriate levels of offender supervision, and a reduction in jail overcrowding. AB 789 passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee 5-2, passed off of the Assembly Floor 46-30 and is set to be heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee on June 13, 2017.