BILL ANALYSIS Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair 1277 (Florez) Hearing Date: 05/27/2010 Amended: 04/27/2010 Consultant: Jacqueline Wong-HernandezPolicy Vote: Public Safety 4-3 _________________________________________________________________ ____ BILL SUMMARY: This bill requires the Department of Justice (DOJ) to create a registry for people convicted of felony animal abuse offenses, as specified. This bill provides requirements for implementing and enforcing the bill's provisions, related to the creation, operation, and regulations of the registry, and establishes penalties for misuse of registry information. This bill requires specified individuals convicted of felony animal abuse to register for 10 years after the date of conviction; failure to register is punishable as a misdemeanor. _________________________________________________________________ ____ Fiscal Impact (in thousands) Major Provisions 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 Fund New DOJ registry $750-2,000 $750-2,000$300-500 General Ongoing DOJ workload Unknown, potentially significant costs General Mandate: law enforcement Potentially significant reimbursable mandate General Mandate: county probation Likely minor, potentially reimbursable mandate General Civil penalties Unknown, possibly significant revenue General Local New misdemeanor Unknown, non-reimbursable local costs Local _________________________________________________________________ ____ STAFF COMMENTS: SUSPENSE FILE. This bill requires individuals convicted of animal abuse to register with local law enforcement, as specified, for ten years within 10 days of coming into this state or changing his or her residence or location within the state. Failure to register would be punishable as a misdemeanor. This bill creates a new program within DOJ, and assigns new duties to local law enforcement and county probation officers. This bill requires DOJ to create a new registry, similar to the sex offender registry created by AB 488 "Megan's Law" (Parra, 2004) within the DOJ, which provides specified information about individuals living in the community who have been convicted of felony animal abuse. Because this bill requires the registry and publicly accessible website to be operational by January 1, 2012, the majority of costs to DOJ will be incurred in calendar year 2011 (above, in the first two fiscal years). Page 2 SB 1277 (Florez) The registry described in the bill, like the sex offender registry, is not a simple website. There are interactive functions and search capabilities beyond a standard departmental website, and a registry is frequently updated due to the requirements on registrants to update their information. The bill specifies certain information that must be available on the registry, but is silent on most aspects of design and implementation. DOJ will likely bring in outside consultants to determine the best way of establishing a new registry that, while conceptually similar to, is not related to, the Megan's Law website. The cost of this project depends upon how it is implemented. If DOJ creates a new website and registry system, it will likely be more costly than integrating the registry with the existing Megan's Law platform (assuming there is no technological reason that latter cannot be done). DOJ may decide, however, that integrating the websites is inappropriate. The estimate range in the Fiscal Impact summary shows the potential difference in cost of building from the existing platform versus creating a new, separate website and registry. In either case, DOJ will also have to hire outside consultants to build (and translate into other languages, as specified) the system, and will need DOJ staff dedicated to establishing the new registry. Ongoing staffing needs, once the registry is operational, are unknown but it is reasonable that DOJ would need at least dedicated resources for this new program. DOJ is also required to make registry information available by telephone and upon written request, to make reasonable efforts to notify individuals of the registration requirement, and to work with stakeholders to assist the public in understanding the registry and animal abuse. These activities create ongoing work for DOJ. DOJ is also required to determine who would be retroactively affected, and notify previously convicted individuals whose information will be posted by the department. This would create a new, one-time project workload. This bill mandates, upon initially receiving the required registry information, that local law enforcement electronically transmit specified information about (and a photograph of) the person to DOJ, within three days. Local law enforcement must follow the same procedure every time the required registrant moves. This bill also requires that, when a required registrant is released on probation or discharged by payment of a fine, county probation officers inform the individual of his or her duty to register, and forward the registrant's address to DOJ. The cost of these new mandates will depend upon the number of people required to register, and how often they move. The mandate is likely to affect more local police and sheriff's departments than county probation offices. This bill establishes civil penalties for misuse of the registry information by individuals and companies. To the extent that this misuse occurs and is proven, this bill would generate some amount of offsetting penalty revenue.