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Legislation
 

2007 Archives

PursuitSAFETY supports HB 1030

State of Washington

HB 1030: Enhancing the Penalty for Eluding a Police Vehicle.

PursuitSAFETY's Letter of Support dated February 18, 2008.

Gov. Chris Gregoire signed HB 1030 March 28, 2008.



CRIME VICTIMS UNITED OF CALIFORNIA
2007 Legislative Update
Public Safety Bills Await Their Fate in the Appropriation Committees


AB 440 (Parra): Law Enforcement: Offender Data
SUPPORT/Co-SPONSOR


AB 487 (Garcia): Parole: Sex Offenders: Specialized Supervision
SUPPORT/Co-SPONSOR


SB 299 (Romero): Department of Corrections of Rehabilitation: Honor Program
OPPOSE


SB 590 (Battin): Child Sexual Exploitation: Internet
SUPPORT/Co-SPONSOR


Each year hundreds of bills are introduced in the Senate and Assembly that require funding in some fashion in order to put the law in place. This places pressure on the Legislature to pick and choose, as there is never enough money to go around.

In an effort to help alleviate some of this pressure, the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee sent a letter to each of the 40 State Senators explaining the need for the members to prioritize their bills that are currently before the Appropriations Committee. As it stands now, the Senate Appropriations Committee alone has over 250 bills on its "suspense file," a holding place within the Committee for bills carrying a price tag of $150,000 or more.

Both the Senate and Assembly Appropriation Committees will hold hearings the last week in May to determine the fate of hundreds of bills outlining legislators' pet projects. Hundreds of bills will be heard in a matter of hours. Votes will be taken without testimony from a single witness. With the swing of a gavel by the respective Chairmen, decisions will be made about which bills live and which ones die. But these decisions are made with careful input from the leaders in both houses.

The suspense files are reviewed by leadership and key policy advisers in both houses. On the Senate side, four senators will be involved in the process: Perata, Torlakson, majority leader Gloria Romero, and caucus chairwoman Carole Migden.

The Appropriation Committees are good places to amend bills in ways that bring greater consensus, but they're also where good ideas don't move forward because the state can't afford various projects. Additionally, the suspense file is also a way for Democrats to kill bills without forcing members to put up votes on controversial bills. Bills are moved to the suspense file through an edict from the committee chairman. And many of them are never heard from again.

The Assembly Appropriation Committee Chairman, Mark Leno, has indicated his committee hopes to trim more than $1 billion of spending currently pending in his committee down to roughly $50-100 million. This will pose great difficulties for a number of public safety bills that would do everything from provide additional financial assistance to victims through the Victims Compensation & Government Claims Board to establish an independent sentencing commission that would be charged with review of current sentencing policies in California.

Many of CVUC's high priority bills are currently awaiting decision on whether they will move off of the suspense files in both houses' Appropriation Committees. Please stay tuned for updates on those bills that continue to move forward and those that will remain in the Committee for consideration next year.


AB 440 (Parra): Law Enforcement: Offender Data SUPPORT/Co-SPONSOR

Millions of California children who use the internet everyday are at risk from sexual predators. However, the magnitude of the problem is not clear as data on child exploitation is severely lacking. How can Californians respond to a problem when these predators are lurking in the shadows and we have so little public data on the magnitude of the problem?

AB 440 by Assemblywoman Nicole Parra (D-Hanford) would require district attorneys to annually report to the Attorney General, profiles by race, age, gender, and ethnicity of any person charged with a felony or misdemeanor violation of various sex offenses involving child pornography. Additionally, it would require the Attorney General to compile the data and report the compilation to the Legislature.

CVUC has argued that data on child exploitation reports, arrests, charges, convictions and sentencing must be compiled in order to bring a greater sense of awareness, public commitment to address the problem, and accountability in California. AB 440 would do just that and is a critical component of addressing this serious issue that violates our most vulnerable population.

CVUC is working with the National Organization to "PROTECT" Children on this important piece of legislation and is pleased to be a co-sponsor of the bill. AB 440 is currently pending in the Assembly Appropriations Committee in the "suspense file."

AB 487 (Garcia): Parole: Sex Offenders: Specialized Supervision SUPPORT/Co-SPONSOR

AB 487 would place persons committed to prison for a sexual offense against a minor under the age of 14 years on intensive and specialized parole supervision. Additionally, it would provide for a continuous appropriation to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for the purpose of recruiting, hiring, training, and equipping new parole officers to supervise parolees who have committed a sex offense against a minor under the age of 14 years.

Sex offenders have the highest rate of recidivism, are very likely to re-offend and should be closely monitored. Our parole system is already severely over-burdened with the statefs few parole agents receiving increasingly large and unmanageable case loads. This measure will provide additional oversight of those who seek to abuse our children.

CVUC is working with the National Organization to "PROTECT" Children on this important piece of legislation and is pleased to be a co-sponsor of the bill. AB 487 is currently pending in the Assembly Appropriations Committee in the "suspense file."

SB 299 (Romero): Department of Corrections of Rehabilitation: Honor Program OPPOSE

SB 299 would require the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to develop and implement an Honor Program for Level III and IV inmates. Participation in the program would provide inmates a certain number of days of visiting per week.

The overarching goal of SB 299 appears to be providing opportunity for behavioral change and a step towards rehabilitation through an honor yard program. While CVUC is not opposed to rehabilitation, we believe that there are some inmates who, for whatever reason, will never be rehabilitated. CVUC strongly believes that any discussion on rehabilitation should recognize the fact that not every inmate can be rehabilitated. It is within this frame of mind that we are opposed to SB 299, which would provide the Honor Program to Level III and IV offenders | inmates that have committee serious and violent crimes.

Additionally, SB 299 does not specify the expected accomplishments from implementing such a program other than a broad consideration of reduced recidivism. Furthermore, the program does not lay out the details of an Honor Program other than to specify visitation and ambiguous rehabilitation programs. The bill is purported to be aimed at mirroring similar successful programs in the state; however, the bill does not specify the details as they would relate to this statewide program and would therefore leave the details open. Rehabilitation, particularly for these more serious and violent offenders, would need to be much more intensive program-wise than merely relying on visitation rights as a means to reduce recidivism. As such, a program being implemented system-wide and being placed in statute should be much more specific with regards to measurable outcomes and programming.

All in all, CVUC fundamentally disagrees with the approach this bill takes. We believe that California should first focus its efforts and funding on lower level offenders who stand a greater chance of turning their lives around prior to committing more serious and violent crimes.

SB 299 (Romero) is currently pending in the Senate Appropriations Committee in the "suspense file."

SB 590 (Battin): Child Sexual Exploitation: Internet SUPPORT/Co-SPONSOR

Child pornography has become a significantly lucrative market and increasingly violent towards the victims the pornography depicts. Law enforcement in California has identified numerous offenders trafficking child pornography in the State; however, law enforcement does not have the resources to investigate and prosecute the increasing number of cases they have identified.

SB 590 would create the State Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Competitive Grant Program, to be administered by the Office of Emergency Services. The grant funding would be appropriated each year by the Legislature to fund statewide Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces to investigate and prosecute Internet-related child exploitation offenses. Four of these federally and locally funded task forces operate in California and have been successful in identifying these predators.

SB 590 would provide the desperately needed resources to further the good work of the ICACs and local law enforcement, ensuring that these predators are brought to justice in California .

CVUC is working with the National Organization to "PROTECT" Children on this important piece of legislation and is pleased to be a co-sponsor of the bill. SB 590 (Battin) is currently pending in the Senate Appropriations Committee in the "suspense file."

 

2005 Archives


Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signs
California's Do-nothing Legislation, SB 719

Chico Enterprise-Record, Larry Mitchell: Romero bill on pursuits signed
News10.net, Marcey Brightwell:
Chico family disappointed in new chase law
Victims of pursuit are still waiting for answers
to questions about new pursuit law, click here.

Kristie's Law held by author to give new law a chance
Chico Enterprise-Record Staff Writer Larry Mitchell
...there seems to be no decline in the numbers of people dying as a result of police pursuits in California and around the nation. For the rest of the story, click here.

Kristie's Law (2005 version)
In 2005, Senator Sam Aanestad removed the immunity/accountability issue from Kristie's Law because he knew California's law enforcement groups were too powerful, making immunity "untouchable." Kristie's Law in 2005 was a statewide mandate restricting police vehicular pursuits to catching violent felons only.

The Issue
California continues to grant blanket immunity to law enforcement agencies even when officers fail to follow the pursuit policy their agency has actually adopted. Read about this unique -- and deadly -- state law; there is no accountability, click here.

California State Senator Sam Aanestad, author of Kristie's Law
"I introduced Kristie's Law for one simple reason: to save lives. An innocent child in my district was killed in a high-speed police pursuit, and the police weren't even after some violent, dangerous criminal. They were chasing a teenage girl for driving her mother's car without permission. There's something very wrong when the police response to a crime poses a greater threat to public safety than the crime itself." For details about Chico's Deadly Chase, click here.

CNN reports
How police chases really work

Capt. Travis Yates of the Tulsa, Ok., police department moderates the Policedriving.com Web site. A high-speed chase, Yates said, is one of the few times when police officers will knowingly put the lives of innocent civilians at risk. Because of the high risk, he said, many municipalities now ban chases except in cases where the suspect is clearly dangerous and cannot be apprehended any other way.

San Francisco Chronicle's Open Forum
Police-pursuit bill misses the point

California's Senate Bill 719, at best, is an after-the-fact piece of legislation: after a child is killed, after a young father is facially disfigured for life from a fiery crash, after a mother and three teens are killed in a pursuit through a school zone at 3 p.m., or after a baby's arm is severed. These are real-life tragedies of police chases gone very badly awry in California. And yes, the families of these victims blame the people who flee for these tragedies. But just as true, Californians deserve a more preventive measure to ensure that our pursuit policies and practices will be followed in order to save lives.

Kristie's Law Defeated
Don Thompson, Associated Press
"One person a week dies in a high speed pursuit in California," said Senator Sam Aanestad
-- by far the highest number and per capita rate in the nation. In one recent week, five people in California died in chases, the senator said.

Kristie's Law is a preventative measure, click here

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