The Legislature now returns to its regular Legislative business, having enacted the 2019-2020 Budget with Governor Newsom last week. The last day for policy committees to meet and report bills will be July 12, after which the Legislature will go on a one-month summer hiatus.
When they return on August 12, the committee focus will be on fiscal bills, with the two Appropriations Committees having until August 30 to report bills to the floor.
After Labor Day Weekend, both houses will be in floor session until the Legislature goes on interim recess September 13. The Governor will have until October 13 to sign or veto bills. Recess will continue until the Legislature reconvenes on January 6, 2020.
The police use of force bills AB 392 and SB 230 are now moving smoothly through the Legislature. AB 392 was approved by the Senate Public Safety Committee on June 18 and is now on the Senate floor with likely final action this week. Governor Newsom is expected to sign the bill once it reaches his desk.
The amendments that were added to the bill in the Assembly had the impact of removing virtually all law enforcement opposition with most associations shifting their position from “oppose” until “neutral”. Some of the groups who originally supported the bill withdrew their previous support for the bill. The general consensus is that the bill’s changes caused the bill to evolve into a statutory scheme that was acceptable to law enforcement.
Senate Bill 230, the law enforcement version of use of force legislation, was unanimously approved by the Assembly Public Safety Committee on June 25. The ACLU attempted to seek a series of amendments to SB 230 that were roundly rejected by the Committee. Several members criticized the ACLU amendments. Because SB 230 has fiscal implications, that bill now goes to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Assembly Bill 362, the shooting gallery bill, is dead for this year. The bill, which will permit the City and County of San Francisco to open an unlimited number of so-called safe injection sites, has been held in the Senate Health Committee pending proposed amendments (rumor is that the amendments will extend the scope of the bill to Oakland and to Los Angeles County). In addition to the Health Committee, the bill also has been assigned to the Public Safety Committee and to the Judiciary Committee of the Senate. The multiple assignments, the rumored amendments, and the active law enforcement and community opposition, have put enough burdens on the bill that it cannot move through the process this year.
CCUPCA took the leadership in assuring that a major public safety allocation found its way into the 2019-2020 Budget this year. Embedded in the budget is a $ 5 Million grant program for schools to receive interoperability technology to aid them in combating active shooter incidents. This establishes a $5 million grant-based program to allow K-12 schools, CSU and UC campuses to acquire and operate critical communications systems that are interoperable with the communications infrastructure of local first responders. This provision will provide needed protection for schools in responding to active shooter incidents.
It is stark reality that active shooter incidents now take place on campuses with disturbing regularity. Despite legislative efforts to prevent active shooter incidents, they are increasing at an alarming rate. Nationally in 2018, an active shooter incident took place on a K-12 campus once every five days. This is the highest rate of K-12 active shooter incidents since that data was first collected 49 years ago. Active shooter incidents on college and university campuses are not much different, with one occurring every eight days. California, Texas and Florida have the dubious distinction of being the top three states in the country with the most incidents of this kind.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission report to the Governor of Florida stated the need for school districts and first responders to strive for communication interoperability. It was this lack of interoperability that exponentially magnified the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as first responders did not receive real time communication from the school site.
Approval of this budget request will allow first responders to have real-time immediate life-saving intel from within the site as they are responding to any emergency incident, enhancing their ability to quickly control the matter and either prevent or minimize causalities. It will also allow for more coordinated responses to emergencies where every second counts.
Approval of this budget request will make possible the swiftest and most efficient response possible for school campuses receiving grant funding pursuant to the bill; and give peace officers and first responders the tools needed to quickly diffuse these incidents and save lives.