Sheriff Eligibility Bill Dies and High-Cost Bills Face Danger of Defeat

By: Shaun Rundle, CPOA Deputy Director.

Several public safety legislative proposals have been referred to the “black hole,” i.e., the Appropriations Suspense File. This is a file of bills with significant cost impacts to the state’s General Fund, and where many bills die in a legislative year. Of legislation on that file so far this year, CPOA opposes most of them.

Suspense File bills will be heard twice a year, once with bills in their chamber of origin, (the Senate or Assembly) and once later in the year if those bills make it to the other chamber’s Appropriations Committee.

Of the bills being heard within the next few weeks on house or origin Suspense Files, the biggest-impact topics are these:

AB 26 (Holden-D) would require those law enforcement policies to require those officers to immediately report potential excessive force, and to intercede when present and observing an officer using excessive force.

AB 48 (Gonzalez-D) prohibits kinetic energy and chemical agent use at rallies, protests, or against civilians who do not comply with a law directive.

NOTES: The author chairs the Appropriations Committee, so the bill likely has a good chance of advancement.

AB 329 (Bonta-D)/SB 262 (Hertzberg-D) would require bail to be set at $0 for all offenses except, among others, serious or violent felonies, violations of specified protective orders, battery against a spouse, sex offenses, and driving under the influence.

NOTES: AB 329 has cancelled hearings (as author Bonta is now Attorney General), and SB 262 is awaiting Hearing on Appropriations Suspense File (i.e., file of high-cost bills).

AB 490 (Gipson-D) would prohibit a law enforcement agency from authorizing techniques or transport methods that involve a substantial risk of positional asphyxia, as defined.

AB 594 (McCarty-D) requires a criminal investigation be conducted into a peace officer’s deadly use of force by a law enforcement agency (LEA) other than the LEA that employs the officer being investigated.  This bill also requires that, no later than January 1, 2023, each LEA adopt a written policy or amend its existing policy to reflect the requirement that an outside agency conduct any criminal investigation into a peace officer’s use of deadly force.

AB 655 (Kalra-D) requires a public agency that hires or employs a peace officer to investigate any prospective or current peace officer for any involvement in a hate group.

SB 2 (Bradford-D) reforms the Tom Bane Civil Rights Act by articulating a new standard for establishing liability, eliminating the application of certain governmental immunities, and expanding standing to bring an action pursuant to the act for the wrongful death of an individual. The bill establishes new standards and mechanisms for evaluating, disqualifying, and decertifying law enforcement officers.

SB 16 (Skinner-D) would release all use of force incident records (not just sustained ones) and would require indefinite retention of all complaints and reports/findings in an agency’s possession.

SB 82 (Skinner-D) would define the crime of petty theft in the first degree; require specified conduct to be charged as such, except as specified; and allow a person who has been convicted of robbery where the conduct meets the elements of first-degree petty theft to petition to vacate that sentence.

SB 98 (McGuire-D) is a reintroduction, under slight word alteration, of a bill last year hoping to grand duly authorized media access to LE commands posts at a protest or rally.

SB 210 (Wiener-D) mandates ALPRS user agencies to include in their usage and privacy policies a requirement that ALPR data not matching a hot list be destroyed within 24 hours.

One defeat law enforcement handed the Legislature so far this year was the killing of SB 271. This outrageous proposal would have repealed peace officer eligibility requirements for an individual to run for county sheriff. CPOA’s Law & Legislation Committee helped make calls to Senate members pressing strong opposition to the bill, and it was pushed back to heard in 2022.