BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 2296
                                                                  Page  1

          AB 2296 (Mullin) 
          As Amended May 15, 2008
          Majority vote 

           JUDICIARY           10-0                                        
          |Ayes:|Jones, Tran, Adams,       |     |                          |
          |     |Evans, Feuer, Keene,      |     |                          |
          |     |Krekorian, Laird, Levine, |     |                          |
          |     |Lieber                    |     |                          |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
           SUMMARY  :  Seeks to create new civil remedies for threats and  
          other misconduct made against an "animal enterprise" engaged in  
          exercising its constitutional rights pertaining to academic  
          freedom in its use of animals for testing and research.   
          Specifically,  this bill  :   

          1)Defines "animal enterprise" as an entity that lawfully uses  
            animals or animal products for education or research in any  
            exercise of a constitutional right that relates to academic  

          2)Provides that no person, business, or association shall  
            knowingly publicly post or publicly display on the Internet a  
            home address, home telephone number, or image of any employee  
            of an animal enterprise or other individuals residing at the  
            same home address of the employee of an animal enterprise, as  
            specified, with the intent to incite great bodily harm or  
            threaten the person, as specified.

          3)Provides that no person, business, or association shall  
            publicly post or publicly display on the Internet a home  
            address or home telephone number of any employee of an animal  
            enterprise if that individual has made a written demand to not  
            disclose his or her home address or home telephone number,  
            which would be effective for four years, regardless of whether  
            or not the individual's affiliation with an animal enterprise  
            has expired prior to the end of the four-year period.

          4)Authorizes a victim of a violation of those prohibitions to  
            maintain an action for damages and for injunctive relief, as  


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          5)Provides that an interactive computer service or access  
            software provider, as defined in Section 230(f) of Title of  
            the United States Code, shall not be liable under this section  
            unless the service or provider intends to abet or cause bodily  
            harm that is likely to occur or threatens to cause bodily harm  
            to an owner or employee of an animal enterprise or any person  
            residing at the same home address.

          6)States the intent of the Legislature to balance the public's  
            right of access to information with the ability of animal  
            researchers to conduct their work without fear of harassment  
            and threats of violence.
          EXISTING LAW  :  
          1)Provides that no person shall knowingly post the home address  
            or telephone number of any elected or appointed official, or  
            of the official's residing spouse or child, on the Internet  
            knowing that person is an elected or appointed official and  
            intending to cause imminent great bodily harm to that  
            individual.  A violation of this subdivision is a misdemeanor.  
            A violation of this subdivision that leads to the bodily  
            injury of the official, or his/her residing spouse or child,  
            is an alternate felony/misdemeanor.  

          2)Provides that no person shall knowingly publicly post or  
            display (intentionally communicate or otherwise make available  
            to the general public with the intent to:  a) incite a third  
            person to cause imminent great bodily harm to the person  
            identified in the posting or display; or, b) to a co-resident  
            of that person, where the third person is likely to commit  
            this harm. Victims can demand that the personal information be  
            removed from an Internet website if the person identified or  
            the co-resident in objectively reasonable fear for his or her  
            personal safety.  

          3)Provides that "true threats" by which a speaker means to  
            communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act  
            of violence to a particular person or group of persons, are  
            not protected by the First Amendment.  (Virginia v. Black  
            (2003) 538 U.S. 343, 359-360.)

          4)Provides that a state may not forbid or proscribe advocacy of  


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            the use of force, violence, or unlawful actions except where  
            such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent  
            lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.  
             (Brandenberg v. Ohio (1969) 395 U.S. 444, 447.)

          5)Establishes various criminal offenses in connection with  
            obstruction of, or interference with, among other things,  
            places of business.  

          6)Provides federal law enforcement officials with the authority  
            to prosecute animal rights activists who commit crimes, under  
            the federal Animal Enterprise Protection Act (AETA).  

          7)Affords colleges and universities and their faculty protection  
            for academic freedom as a constitutional interest in addition  
            to protections for employee-speech.  See Garcetti v. Ceballos,  
            547 U.S. 410 (U.S. 2006).  

           COMMENTS  :  This bill, sponsored by the University of California  
          (U.C.), seeks to deter a reported increase in frightening and  
          egregious attacks against U.C. animal research employees and  
          their families in their homes by animal rights activists.  To  
          address these attacks, this bill seeks to create a new new civil  
          remedy for those victimized as a result of their employment in  
          the "animal enterprise."  This bill, with the author's  
          thoughtful cooperation, was substantially narrowed when it was  
          heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee to provide the bill  
          with a needed constitutional grounding.  The definition of  
          "animal enterprise" was greatly limited as were the remedies  
          provided under the measure to target the potentially dangerous  
          misconduct sought to be curtailed by the legislation.

          In support of this bill, U.C. provided the Judiciary Committee  
          with some frightening and disturbing stories of academics and  
          their families reportedly facing literal assault and battery at  
          their homes by animal protection activists clearly crossing the  
          line from speech into egregious criminal misconduct.  One such  
          story reportedly involved a well-publicized and patently  
          outrageous attempted home invasion just this past February by  
          six masked animal rights extremists at the home of a U.C. Santa  
          Cruz faculty member who had used mice in breast cancer research.  
           Another such set of incidents reportedly occurred recently  
          where Berkeley police have been investigating a two-month string  
          of animal rights related vandalism at the homes of six U.C.  
          Berkeley scientists.  The names and addresses of the scientists  


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          were reportedly posted on animal activist Web sites, along with  
          graphic descriptions of the academicians' alleged animal  
          testing.  This bill now closely follows two similar bills  
          authored by Assemblywoman Evans which seek to protect the  
          constitutional rights of reproductive rights workers and the  
          constitutional rights of public officials.

          With this bill's very substantial narrowing, the author has  
          identified a constitutionally cognizable interest that the  
          Judiciary Committee found rises to similar constitutional  
          dimension as the earlier bills by Assemblywoman Evans recently  
          enacted by the Legislature:  namely, the protection of the right  
          to academic freedom shared by colleges and universities and  
          their faculty.  See, e.g., Garcetti v. Ceballos (2006) 547 U.S.  
          410; Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003); Keyishian v.  
          Board of Regents of Univ. of State of N. Y., 385 U.S. 589, 603  
          (1967); Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234, 250 (1957);  
          Regents of the Univ. of Cal v. Bakke (1978) 438 U.S. 265, at  
           In support of this bill and reflecting the broad call for new  
          protections by academic institutions, sponsor U.C. writes in  
          part that "Research involving the use of animals has contributed  
          significantly to the discovery and development of critical  
          scientific breakthroughs and medical therapies? Animal research  
          can be an important step in determining whether a promising  
          therapy might be safe for human use.  Radiation therapy and  
          other cancer treatments, the development of vaccines, organ  
          transplantation, and many mental health treatments have all  
          resulted in part from work done on animals? Animal research is  
          subject to strict federal and state regulation designed to  
          ensure humane and ethical treatment of animals? When such work  
          is disrupted by the actions used by extreme animal rights  
          activists, the deleterious impact on important research can be  
          significant and can delay the development of greatly-needed and  
          potentially lifesaving therapies." 

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Kevin G. Baker and Drew Liebert / JUD.  
          / (916) 319-2334 

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