BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 2243
                                                                  Page  1

          CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
          AB 2243 (Smyth)
          As Amended June 22, 2010
          Majority vote
           
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          |ASSEMBLY:  |76-0 |(April 5, 2010) |SENATE: |31-0 |(June 24,      |
          |           |     |                |        |     |2010)          |
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           Original Committee Reference:     JUD.  

           SUMMARY  :  Seeks to clarify the state's emergency services law  
          to, amongst other things, prohibit the discrimination against  
          the handler of a search and rescue dog in hotels, lodging  
          establishments, eating establishments, or public transportation.  
           Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Prohibits discrimination against the handler of a search and  
            rescue dog assigned to duty away from his or her home  
            jurisdiction because of a declared federal, state, or local  
            emergency, or an official mutual aid request or training, and  
            in the course and scope of his or her duties in hotels,  
            lodging establishments, eating establishments, or public  
            transportation by being required to pay an extra charge or  
            security deposit for the dog.  Prohibits specified entities  
            from denying service to the peace officer, firefighter, or  
            handler based on the presence of the dog.

          2)Expands the circumstances for the prohibition of  
            discrimination to include when the peace officer, firefighter,  
            or handler is away from his or her home jurisdiction because  
            of an official mutual aid request or training in addition to  
            declared emergencies.

          3)Requires the handler, in addition to the peace officer's law  
            enforcement agency or the firefighter's fire agency, to be  
            liable for any damages to the premises or facilities caused by  
            the search and rescue dog.

          4)Defines "handler of a search and rescue dog" to mean a person  
            in possession of a dog that is in training to become  
            registered and approved as a search and rescue dog, or that is  
            currently registered and approved for tasks, including, but  
            not limited to, locating missing persons, discovering  








                                                                  AB 2243
                                                                  Page  2

            controlled substances, explosives, or cadavers, or locating  
            victims in collapsed structures, and assisting with peace  
            officer on-command searches for suspects and victims at crime  
            scenes.

          5)Defines "search and rescue dog" to mean a dog that is  
            officially affiliated with, or sponsored by, a governmental  
            agency and that has been trained and approved as a search and  
            rescue dog, or that is currently registered and approved for  
            search and rescue work with a search and rescue team  
            affiliated with the California Emergency Management Agency.   
            The term also includes a dog that is in training to become  
            registered and approved for that work.

          6)Provides that the bill is not intended to prevent removal of  
            the search and rescue dog in the event the dog creates an  
            excessive disturbance to the establishment.  In the event of  
            an excessive disturbance, the peace officer, firefighter, or  
            handler of the search and rescue dog shall be given a minimum  
            of one warning notice of the excessive disturbance and an  
            opportunity to correct the disturbance.  The mere presence of  
            the dog within the hotel, lodging establishment, food  
            establishment, or public transportation shall not be  
            considered an excessive disturbance.

           The Senate amendments  provide owners with the ability to  
          maintain the peace and quiet of their properties, while at the  
          same time provide notice to the handler as well as make other  
          clarifying changes.
           
          EXISTING LAW  provides that a peace officer or firefighter  
          assigned to a canine unit, who is assigned to duty away from his  
          or her home jurisdiction because of a declared federal, state,  
          or local emergency, and in the course and scope of his or her  
          official duties, may not be discriminated against in hotels,  
          lodging establishments, eating establishments, or public  
          transportation by being required to pay an extra charge or  
          security deposit for the peace officer's or firefighter's dog.   
          Further provides the peace officer's law enforcement agency or  
          the firefighter's fire agency is liable for any damages to the  
          premises or facilities caused by the peace officer's or  
          firefighter's dog.  

           AS PASSED BY THE ASSEMBLY  , this bill was substantially similar  
          to the version approved by the Senate.








                                                                  AB 2243
                                                                  Page  3

           
          FISCAL EFFECT  :  None

           COMMENTS  :  In support of this important emergency services  
          measure sponsored by the California Emergency Management Agency  
          (Cal-EMA), the author writes in part that:

               The purpose of AB 2243 is to: 1) clarify that the  
               protections also apply during "official mutual aid"  
               deployments and not only during declared disasters;  
               and, 2) add definitions of "registered search and  
               rescue dog team" and "owner or custodian of a search  
               and rescue dog" to existing law in order to extend  
               these same protections to these animals and their  
               handlers that are volunteers legally registered with  
               fire or law enforcement agencies.

               When requested by local jurisdictions, volunteer  
               search and rescue (SAR) canine teams are dispatched by  
               Cal-EMA to support mutual aid operations in a city or  
               county.  SAR canines typically complete up to two  
               years of training before they can meet Cal-EMA's  
               certification requirements, and the dogs are  
               recertified annually to ensure they continue to meet  
               these guidelines. The training is accomplished mostly  
               by volunteers who have expertise in canine training  
               and have a SAR background.  The importance of this  
               year-round service is self-evident, as no one  
               jurisdiction can afford to have sufficient numbers of  
               trained SAR dog teams, thus the ability to move these  
               teams safely around the state, with minimal  
               restrictions, is critical? However, these SAR dog  
               teams often travel long distances and must stay in  
               hotels and other lodging when deployed on assignment.   
               The dogs also may need to accompany their handlers  
               into restaurants and other public buildings because  
               they cannot safely remain inside of an unattended  
               vehicle for extended periods [and this measure ensures  
               appropriate protections against discrimination are in  
               place in these circumstances.] 

           
          Analysis Prepared by :    Drew Liebert / JUD. / (916) 319-2334 
                                                                FN: 0005049