Important Dates & Deadlines
Feb. 22nd Last day for bills to be introduced
March 29th Cesar Chavez Day (Legislature Observed)
April 11th Spring Recess begins upon adjournment
April 22nd Legislature reconvenes from Spring Recess
April 26th Last day for Policy Committees to hear and report to fiscal
committees fiscal bills introduced in their house
Amid Negotiations, Two Police Use-Of-Force Measures Introduced
According to the latest reports, law enforcement and civil liberties groups are introducing separate police use-of-force bills. As you may recall, last year Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assemblymember Shirley Weber tabled AB 931, a proposal which would have revised use-of-force standards by peace officers. At the time, commitments were made to bring the stakeholders together in an effort to negotiate a proposal. These conversations now appear to be on hold, but not completely dead. Even with both sides presenting their own legislation, Brian Marvel, the president of the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) has suggested that there are ample opportunities for potential compromise.
Assemblymembers Weber, Kevin McCarty and Chris Holden, along with Senator Holly Mitchell, released their proposal, AB 392. The bill will have the support of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. The law enforcement coalition is throwing its support behind a bill by Senator Anna Caballero. Details about the proposals are forthcoming. Stay tuned…
Proposed Ballot Measure Would Allow Felony Parolees to Vote
Convicted felons on parole could soon be granted the right to vote under a new proposal unveiled in the last few weeks. Assemblymember Kevin McCarty’s ACA 6, dubbed the Free the Vote Act, aims to do just that. ACA 6 is sponsored by the Secretary of State Alex Padilla and jointly authored by McCarty and Assemblymembers Shirley Weber, Rob Bonta, Lorena Gonzalez, Ash Kalra, and Sydney Kamlager-Dove. Existing law suspends a person’s right to vote when they are incarcerated or on parole for a felony conviction. Currently, nearly 50,000 people are on parole throughout the state.
The proposal has already garnered an endorsement from Reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, who visited the State Capitol recently advocating for criminal justice reforms. However, ACA 6 will need to be approved by a 2/3rd vote in the Legislature before it can make its way to the voters in 2020. Stay tuned…
For more information, please see https://a07.asmdc.org/press-releases/20190128-assemblymembers-mccarty-kamlager-dove-kalra-bonta-and-california-secretary.
Newsom Calls for Reorganization of the Division of Juvenile Justice
In addition to the announcement in his January Budget proposal, Governor Gavin Newsom also recently toured the O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton to promote his interest in to “ending the juvenile justice system as we know it.” More specifically, he is seeking to move youth correctional facilities from the purview of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to a new department under the Health and Human Services Agency. As a point of reference, in 2019-20, the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is projected to have a population of 759 young offenders.
Newsom’s plan, described in a single paragraph in his budget proposal, notes that the change will enable the state to better provide juvenile offenders with services needed to be successful upon release. Further, the announcement comes amid a growing body of literature that is increasingly looking at incarceration through the lens of health care. The Administration has yet to provide specifics or additional details on the reorganization other than to share the intent to reorganize DJJ under Health and Human Services by July 1st.
Whether Newsom’s overhaul works depends on the details. As an example, Chuck Supple, director of DJJ, has said it would be crucial for Newsom to preserve a role for corrections officers in the juvenile system. Stay tuned…
For more information, please see https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-gavin-newsom-juvenile-justice-plan-20190122-story.html.
Kamala Harris Announces 2020 Presidential Bid
California Senator Kamala Harris is running for president in 2020. The first-term Democratic senator made the announcement during an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. She is scheduled to hold a more formal campaign launch in Oakland on Sunday where she will give a speech outlining her candidacy. Harris’ campaign manager will be Juan Rodriguez, who was the manager of her 2016 Senate campaign and was also a senior adviser to Governor Gavin Newsom’s campaign. It was reported that her campaign raised $1.5 million in its first 24 hours.
This year, California will join Texas, Virginia and at least a half-dozen other states holding primaries on March 3rd —on what is known as “Super Tuesday”—instead of in June. Early voting will begin on Feb. 3rd. Stay tuned…
For more information, please see https://kamalaharris.org/.
Special Elections for 1st and 33rd Senate Districts Scheduled
Governor Gavin Newsom recently issued proclamations declaring special elections for the 1st and 33rd Senate Districts. The primary elections will be March 26th and the general elections June 4th. However, a runoff will not be needed if any candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote in March.
The seats were vacated when Democrat Ricardo Lara was elected Insurance Commissioner and Republican Ted Gaines won a seat on the Board of Equalization. In both districts, several candidates have already announced their intent to run. In the 33rd Senate District, the list includes Long Beach councilmembers Lena Gonzalez and Al Austin; Lynwood Councilman Jose Solache; South Gate Councilwoman Denise Diaz; Bell councilmembers Ali Saleh and Ana Maria Quintana; and Central Valley Water District member Leticia Vasquez-Wilson. In the 1st Senate District, the list includes former Assemblymember Beth Gaines; Assemblymember Kevin Kiley; Assemblymember Brian Dahle, and Rex Hime, president and CEO of the California Business Properties Association. Stay tuned…
For more information, please see https://www.gov.ca.gov/2019/01/15/1st-and-33rd-senate-districts/.
Senator Shannon Grove Named Republican Leader-Elect
Senate Republicans recently selected Senator Shannon Grove of Bakersfield to succeed Senator Patricia Bates of Laguna Niguel as the new Senate Republican Leader. First elected to the Assembly in 2010, Grove will be the third woman to lead the Senate Republican Caucus.
In the Assembly, Republicans recently moved to make Assemblymember Marie Waldron their leader after former Minority Leader Brian Dahle stepped down to run for state Senate. Also, it should be noted that the state Republican Party will elect their next chairman at the party’s February convention. As the California GOP undergoes changes, they will be faced with the question of whether to move in a more moderate direction or embrace a conservative platform. Stay tuned…
For more information, please see https://cssrc.us/content/senate-republicans-announce-leadership-transition-0.
Under Newsom Administration, California’s Chief Justice Seeks Financial Certainty
California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye spoke with reporters in San Francisco for over an hour on a wide range of topics recently. During this discussion, she noted a need for increased court funding. Cantil-Sakauye mentioned already having met with Governor-elect Gavin Newsom on multiple occasions and further suggested she is hopeful that under his direction the court system will fare better than it has in recent years. Referring to Governor Jerry Brown’s first few budgets, Cantil-Sakauye said “in the Great Recession the branch was cut numerous times, over and over, oftentimes mid-year. We had no ability to plan. We had no ability to attempt to serve those who were already in our court system — not to mention those who were coming in at a time when foreclosures were high and unemployment was high.” The state Constitution requires Newsom to present a budget by January 10th, so we will need to wait until then to see if he restores funding to the courts. Stay tuned…
Legislation Seeks to Better Protect Correctional Officers from Gassing Attacks
Last September, the California State Auditor’s office issued a report detailing their review of the health and safety of correctional staff that were subject to a type of assault in which an inmate throws bodily fluids at them commonly known as a gassing attack. The report concluded that three correctional facilities — the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s California Institute for Men, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Men’s Central Jail, and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office’s Santa Rita Jail — needed to do more to adequately protect against these types attacks, which can expose officers to communicable diseases and psychological trauma.
In response, Assemblymember Freddie Rodriquez has introduced AB 294 which would codify the recommendations outlined in the audit. Specifically, his legislation would provide more information to officers about their rights following an attack, increase the availability and accessibility of protective gear, and require facilities to replace soiled uniforms. Further, the bill aims to augment training on how to prevent and mitigate the harm from gassing attacks and strengthen investigations when these incidents occur. In speaking about his proposal, Rodriguez said, “No one should be put at unnecessary risk while on the job, sadly these employees have not been afforded that right.”