By Shaun Rundle, Deputy Director.
Last Tuesday, AB 392 (Weber-D) passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee, which was the bill’s first hearing. In a nearly three-hour hearing, advocates on both sides of the legislation spoke their piece, with the opposition presenting legal experts, public safety advocates, and a Sac Sheriff Deputy whose partner was killed in front of her last September. Normally bills without a fiscal impact, such as AB 392 is deemed this year, pass a committee to the Assembly floor for full debate. That didn’t happen with AB 392.
Instead, the bill was passed out of Public Safety Committee by a 6-2 party line vote to the Assembly Rules Committee. Rules serves as the governing body of the Assembly, and the fact that AB 392 was sent there means that Asm. Weber doesn’t have the required votes to pass the bill on the Assembly floor with all 80 members. The Chair of the Public Safety Committee and its members who voted for the bill did so under the pretext that the conversations about use of force must continue and holding the bill in committee (i.e. killing it) sends the message that the issue is not important enough to pass the bill. CPOA has no disagreement that the issue is a big one, our disagreement is that AB 392 serves as the vehicle to engage those conversations. Her bill last year, AB 391 died in the Senate Rules Committee under the same notion of wanting further conversations to occur.
Therefore, CPOA and other law enforcement organizations will certainly not let AB 392 be the only use of force bill in 2019 that warrants conversation. SB 230 (Caballero-D) is set to be hear in the Senate’s Public Safety Committee next Tuesday, April 23rd at the Capitol. That bill, which sets training and policy standards on use of force and de-escalation has to be a part of the conversation going forward as well. That bill makes changes to PC 196 and 835(a) just as AB 392 does, but SB 230 does not try to raise the legal standard for lethal force from “objectively reasonable” to “necessary.”
Both bills still have a road to go before even possibly getting to Governor Newsom’s desk. That would not happen until August or September. Until then, CPOA and will keep our members updated and engaged on these conversations going forward.