BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                       



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                                 THIRD READING


          Bill No:  AB 2296
          Author:   Mullin (D), et al
          Amended:  8/19/08 in Senate
          Vote:     27 - Urgency

           
           SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE  :  5-0, 6/24/08
          AYES:  Corbett, Harman, Ackerman, Kuehl, Steinberg

          SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE: Senate Rule 28.8

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  76-0, 5/19/08 - See last page for vote


           SUBJECT  :    Academic research

           SOURCE  :     University of California


           DIGEST  :    This bill enacts the Researchers Protection Act  
          of 2008.

          This bill enhances the ability of state law enforcement and  
          prosecutors to protect academic researchers and their  
          families who are victims of threatening and destructive  
          tactics employed by extremists, by identifying those  
          extremists without jeopardizing legitimate and lawful  
          expressions of free speech. This bill adds criminal  
          provisions to state law, as a counterpart to existing  
          federal and state laws, for the commission of certain  
          activities intended to chill or interfere with a  
          researcher's academic freedom.  

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          The bill (1) enacts a new misdemeanor law making it a  
          violation for any person to publish information describing  
          or depicting an academic researcher or his/her immediate  
          family member, or the location or locations where an  
          academic researcher or his/her immediate family member may  
          be found, with the intent that another person imminently  
          use the information to commit a crime involving violence or  
          a threat of violence against the academic researcher or  
          his/her immediate family member, and the information is  
          likely to produce the imminent commission of such a crime,  
          (2) enacts a new misdemeanor trespass law, making it a  
          violation for any person to enter the residential real  
          property of an academic researcher for the purpose of  
          chilling, preventing the exercise of, or interfering with  
          the researcher's academic freedom, (3) defines "academic  
          researcher" as any person lawfully engaged in academic  
          research who is a student, trainee or employee of UC, an  
          accredited California community college, a campus of the  
          California State University or a Western Association of  
          Schools and Colleges accredited, degree-granting, nonprofit  
          institution.  Academic research does not include routine,  
          non-laboratory coursework or assignments, and (4) defines  
          "academic freedom" as the lawful performance, dissemination  
          or publication of academic research or instruction.

           ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing federal law, under the Animal Enterprise  
          Protection Act, prohibits damaging or interfering with the  
          operations of an animal enterprise; intentionally damaging  
          or causing the loss of any property (including animals or  
          records) used by an animal enterprise or a person or entity  
          having a connection to an animal enterprise; or  
          intentionally placing a person or family member of a person  
          in connection with an animal enterprise in reasonable fear  
          of death or serious bodily injury or by a course of conduct  
          involving threats, acts of vandalism, property damage,  
          criminal trespass, harassment, or intimidation. 

          Existing law makes it unlawful for any person to willfully  
          engage in threats to commit a crime resulting in death or  
          great bodily injury to another person, as specified.

          Existing law makes it unlawful for persons to engage in  







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          certain acts of trespass and punishes most trespasses by a  
          fine not exceeding $1,000, imprisonment in a county jail  
          for a period not exceeding six months, or by both that fine  
          and imprisonment.

          This bill enacts the Researcher Protection Act of 2008 

          This bill states that the Legislature hereby finds and  
          declares that while individuals are entitled to express  
          their views on animal use in research and to mount protests  
          that are protected under the First Amendment to the United  
          States Constitution, the use of physical threats, violence,  
          or destruction of property is unacceptable and should not  
          be tolerated. Unlawful acts that threaten and intimidate  
          researchers or their families at their personal residences  
          are not protected by the First Amendment to the United  
          States Constitution, and are a direct threat to the  
          academic researcher's constitutional right to academic  
          freedom.

          This bill provides that any person who publishes  
          information describing or depicting an academic researcher  
          or his/her immediate family member, or the location or  
          locations where an academic researcher or an immediate  
          family member  of an academic researcher may be found, with  
          the intent that another person imminently use the  
          information to commit a crime involving violence or a  
          threat of violence against an academic researcher or  
          his/her immediate family member, and the information is  
          likely to produce the imminent commission of such a crime,  
          is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a  
          county jail for not more than one year, a fine of not more  
          than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both a fine and  
          imprisonment.

          This bill provides that for the purposes of this bill, all  
          of the following apply:  

          1. "Publishes" means making the information available to  
             another person through any medium, including, but not  
             limited to, the Internet, the World Wide Web, or e-mail.

          2. "Academic researcher" has the same meaning as in Section  
             602.12.







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          3. "Immediate family" means any spouse, whether by marriage  
             or not, domestic partner, parent, child, any person  
             related by consanguinity or affinity within the second  
             degree, or any other person who regularly resides in the  
             household, or who, within the prior six months,  
             regularly resided in the household.

          4. "Information" includes, but is not limited to, an image,  
             film, filmstrip, photograph, negative, slide, photocopy,  
             videotape, video laser disc, or any other  
             computer-generated image.

          This bill provides that any academic researcher about whom  
          information is published in violation of subdivision (a)  
          may seek a preliminary injunction enjoining any further  
          publication of that information.  The bill specifies that  
          this provision does not apply to a person or entity  
          protected pursuant to Section 1070 of the Evidence Code.

          This bill does not apply to any person who is lawfully  
          engaged in labor union activities that are protected under  
          state or federal law.

          The provisions of this bill shall not preclude prosecution  
          under any other provision of law. 

          This bill provides that any person who enters the  
          residential real property of an academic researcher for the  
          purpose of chilling, preventing the exercise of, or  
          interfering with the researcher's academic freedom is  
          guilty of trespass, a misdemeanor.

          For the purposes of this bill, the following definitions  
          apply:

          1. "Academic researcher" means any person lawfully engaged  
             in academic research who is a student, trainee,  
             employee, or affiliated physician of an accredited  
             California community college, a campus of the California  
             State University or the University of California, or a  
             Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredited,  
             degree granting, nonprofit institution.  Academic  
             research does not include routine nonlaboratory  







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             coursework or assignments.

          2. "Academic freedom" means the lawful performance,  
             dissemination, or publication of academic research or  
             instruction.

          The provisions of this bill shall not apply to any person  
          who is lawfully engaged in labor union activities that are  
          protected under state or federal law.

          The provisions of this bill state that this section shall  
          not preclude prosecution under any other provision of law.

          The bill provides that the provisions of this act are  
          severable.  If any provision of this act or its application  
          is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other  
          provisions or applications that can be given effect without  
          the invalid provision or application.

           Background
           
          This bill arises from the reported unlawful activities of  
          animal rights groups against University of California (UC)  
          employees, as follows:  (1) on three occasion since June  
          2006, fire bombs have been left near the homes of UCLA  
          faculty who conduct or oversee research involving animals.   
          The home of one UCLA researcher sustained over $20,000 in  
          damages after being flooded by animal extremists who  
          inserted a garden hose into the house and left a note  
          threatening to burn the house down in the future, (2) it is  
          also noted that faculty at UCSF have been subject to death  
          treats, and in one instance, a burning effigy was left on  
          the doorstep of a researcher's home.  And, in one recent  
          home attack, masked protesters disrupted a child's birthday  
          party at the home of a UC Santa Cruz faculty member and  
          confronted her husband at the door, striking him on the  
          hand.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  No    
          Local:  No

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/21/08)

          Association of Independent California Colleges and  







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          Universities
          BIOCOM
          BayBIO
          California Biomedical Research Association
          California Healthcare Institute
          California Institute for Technology
          California Postsecondary Education Commission
          California State University
          Stanford
          USC


           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    The author's office writes,  
          "Increasingly scientists who conduct research with  
          laboratory animals have been targets of a campaign of  
          terrorism, harassment, and violent threats by animal rights  
          extremists.  While traditional targets have included  
          research and biomedical laboratories, the use of the  
          Internet has provided extremists with additional ways to  
          terrorize an increasing number of people.  Extremists use  
          websites to post the personal information, home address,  
          and photographs of researchers and their families - along  
          with incitements of violence.

          "Therefore, AB 2296 enhances the ability to protect  
          individuals engaging in work with animal subjects in  
          California, by creating new civil remedies for threats and  
          other misconduct made against an animal enterprise engaged  
          in its constitutional rights pertaining to academic  
          freedom."

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  : 
          AYES:  Adams, Aghazarian, Anderson, Arambula, Beall,  
            Benoit, Berg, Berryhill, Blakeslee, Brownley, Caballero,  
            Charles Calderon, Carter, Cook, Coto, Davis, De La Torre,  
            De Leon, DeSaulnier, DeVore, Duvall, Dymally, Emmerson,  
            Eng, Evans, Feuer, Fuentes, Fuller, Furutani, Gaines,  
            Galgiani, Garcia, Hancock, Hayashi, Hernandez, Horton,  
            Houston, Huff, Huffman, Jeffries, Jones, Karnette, Keene,  
            Krekorian, La Malfa, Laird, Leno, Levine, Lieber, Lieu,  
            Maze, Mendoza, Mullin, Nakanishi, Nava, Niello, Parra,  
            Plescia, Portantino, Price, Sharon Runner, Ruskin, Salas,  
            Saldana, Silva, Smyth, Solorio, Spitzer, Strickland,  
            Swanson, Torrico, Tran, Villines, Walters, Wolk, Bass







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          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Garrick, Ma, Nunez, Soto


          RJG:do  8/21/08   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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