BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1532
                                                                  Page 1

          Date of Hearing:   January 12, 2010
          Counsel:               Nicole J. Hanson


                         ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY
                                 Tom Ammiano, Chair

                    AB 1532 (Lieu) - As Amended:  January 4, 2010
           
           
           SUMMARY  :   Enumerates a separate Penal Code section for the  
          existing definition of a "code enforcement officer."

           EXISTING LAW  defines a "code enforcement officer" as any person  
          who is not peace officer and who is employed by any governmental  
          subdivision, public or quasi-public corporation, public agency,  
          public service corporation, any town, city, county, or municipal  
          corporation, whether incorporated or chartered, that has  
          enforcement authority for health, safety, and welfare  
          requirements, and whose duties include enforcement of any  
          statute, rules, regulations, or standards, and who is authorized  
          to issue citations, or file formal complaints.  A "code  
          enforcement officer" also includes any person who is employed by  
          the Department of Housing and Community Development who has  
          enforcement authority for health, safety, and welfare  
          requirements pursuant to the Employee Housing Act; the State  
          Housing Law; the Mobilehomes-Manufactured Housing Act; the  
          Mobilehome Parks Act; and the Special Occupancy Parks Act.   
          [Penal Code Sections 241(d)(9)(A) and (B), and 243(f)(11)(A) and  
          (B).]

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown

           COMMENTS  :   

           1)Author's Statement  :  According to the author, "There are a  
            number of pieces of federal legislation that contemplate  
            giving federal grants for local code enforcement functions.   
            Virtually every jurisdiction performs code enforcement  
            functions; however, many jurisdictions lack a definition of  
            code enforcement functions.  As a consequence, those  
            jurisdictions are disadvantaged in the effort to obtain  
            federal funding for code enforcement purposes.  AB 1532  
            establishes a free-standing definition for code enforcement  
            officers that can be used by any local jurisdiction in their  








                                                                  AB 1532
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            application for code enforcement funding."

           2)Background  :  According to information provided by the author,  
            "California lacks a free-standing definition for code  
            enforcement officers that a local jurisdiction could reference  
            in applications for code enforcement funding.  AB 1532  
            establishes this free-standing definition and is verbatim from  
            current law (Penal Code Sec. 241 and 243).  This bill is not  
            intended to expand the powers of code enforcement officers,  
            but just merely provide a definition so that California  
            jurisdictions may compete on an even playing field in securing  
            federal dollars."

           3)Code Enforcement Officers  :  Code enforcement officers enforce  
            the regulations and standards of state and local governments.   
            Unlike police officers, however, code enforcement officers are  
            not "peace officers" under California law and are not  
            empowered to effectuate arrests or to carry weapons during the  
            course of duty.  (Penal Code Section 830 to 832.6.) 
           
          Code enforcement officers are responsible for investigating  
            violations and requiring compliance with the law.  Correcting  
            deficient conditions is often inconvenient and costly.  Orders  
            to correct deficient conditions are often taken personally and  
            produce anger, resentment, and hostility in the affected  
            parties.  These intense negative feelings aroused by code  
            enforcement officers may be rooted in human nature, which  
            includes biological, cultural, and social determinants to  
            stake out and defend our personal environments.  [See Baron &  
            Byrne, Social Psychology: Understanding Human Interaction (5th  
            ed. 1987) pp. 440-442, 450-452 (discussing the innate  
            predilections humans have when it comes to the spaces they  
            inhabit).]  Personal territory, as in a home or business, is  
            significant for humans as that is where people carry on  
            long-term essential activities.  (Id. at 440 & 451.)  It is  
            the desire for privacy and control that causes a person to  
            become distressed and attempt to assume dominance over  
            uninvited intrusions into his or her primary space.  (Ibid.)   
            This predilection to control and defend one's space can  
            manifest itself in aggression and violence.  (Ibid.)  Thus, an  
            enforcement officer is an adversarial position from the start  
            and on a potential collision course with the inhabitants of  
            the "invaded" territories.  Attacks on code enforcement  
            officers have included the use of firearms, explosives, all  
            manners of bludgeons, knives, motor vehicles, beatings and  








                                                                  AB 1532
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            even human bites on the officer's person.  [See California  
            Association of Code Enforcement & California Environmental  
            Health Association, 2001 Survey Results 8 (2002) [hereinafter  
            Survey Results] (reporting the testimonials of code  
            enforcement officers about dangerous experiences in the  
            field).]  A 2001 California Association of Code Enforcement  
            survey of association members reported that over 63% of those  
            who responded to the survey had been assaulted or threatened.   
            (Ibid.)

          Confronting unlawful, aggressive individuals in the course of  
            enforcing the law has long been the responsibility peace  
            officers.  Yet, code enforcement officers consistently  
            encounter felons, gang members, unstable homeless individuals,  
            irate tenants and potentially violent property owners.  In  
            addition, code enforcement officers investigate violations,  
            issue citations, prepare criminal cases, arrange arrests for  
            failures to appear, and obtain court orders. 

           4)Argument in Support  :  According to The California Association  
            of Code Enforcement Officers, "Code enforcement is a process  
            whereby local governments use various techniques to gain  
            compliance with duly-adopted regulations such as land use and  
            zoning ordinances, health & safety codes, sign standards,  
            substandard housing, property maintenance and uniform building  
            and fire codes.  In recent years, federal and state  
            regulations governing air and water quality and the transport  
            of storage of hazardous wastes, and requirements for  
            implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act have come  
            into play.  Local governments are now obliged to include  
            enforcement of these rules and regulations in the array of  
            responsibilities they assume for protecting the publish  
            health, safety, and welfare.  

          "Contemporary code enforcement involves local enforcement  
            officials in the job of ensuring compliance with policies,  
            codes, rules, regulations, and permits in a proper, timely  
            fashion within the limits of the law.  Consequently,  
            enforcement officials must be fully acquainted with the  
            adoption process and the thinking behind the regulations they  
            enforce as well as the legal limits placed on them.   
            Conversely, those who write the laws must understand the  
            problems particular to enforcement and administration as the  
            codes and regulations are implemented.









                                                                  AB 1532
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          "Your bill, AB 1532, provides a much needed definition of code  
            enforcement.  Although, code enforcement has been used by  
            local governments for decades, many entities do not have a  
            codified definition of code enforcement.  This oversight has  
            placed local agencies at a disadvantage in seeking federal  
            money that is available for code enforcement through  
            competitive grant processes.  Currently, funds for code  
            enforcement can be made available from Byrne JAG Grant  
            funding, Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) funding,  
            federal COPS funding, Byrne Discretionary funding, Byrne  
            Competitive Grants, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)  
            . . . .

          "We believe that the lack of a codified definition of code  
            enforcement makes the obtaining of important federal code  
            enforcement funding more daunting.  AB 1532 will rectify this  
            situation and enable jurisdictions in California to compete on  
            an even playing field with jurisdictions around the county for  
            needed code enforcement funding."

           5)Prior Legislation  :  SB 919 (Ortiz), Chapter 274, Statutes of  
            2003, increased the penalty for a simple assault or battery  
            upon a code enforcement officer from a term not to exceed six  
            months to a term not to exceed 12 months in the county jail.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          California Association of Code Enforcement Officers

           Opposition 
           
          None
           

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Nicole J. Hanson / PUB. S. / (916)  
          319-3744