BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  SB 1417
                                                                  Page  1

          SENATE THIRD READING
          SB 1417 (Cox)
          As Amended  August 16, 2010
          Majority vote 

           SENATE VOTE  :29-0  
           
           JUDICIARY           9-0         APPROPRIATIONS      16-0        
           
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Ayes:|Feuer, Tran, Evans,       |Ayes:|Fuentes, Conway,          |
          |     |Hagman, Huffman, Jones,   |     |Bradford,                 |
          |     |Knight, Monning, Saldana  |     |Charles Calderon, Coto,   |
          |     |                          |     |Davis,                    |
          |     |                          |     |De Leon, Gatto, Hall,     |
          |     |                          |     |Miller, Nielsen, Norby,   |
          |     |                          |     |Skinner, Solorio,         |
          |     |                          |     |Torlakson, Torrico        |
          |-----+--------------------------+-----+--------------------------|
          |     |                          |     |                          |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
           SUMMARY :  Establishes new procedures and requirements for the  
          appointment and confirmation of humane officers by non-profit  
          humane societies.  Specifically,  this bill  :    

          1)Repeals Corporations Code Sections 10401 and 10402,  
            eliminating the requirement that a humane society's articles  
            of incorporation must be endorsed either by the Department of  
            Justice or by the judge of the superior court in the county  
            and instead permits a corporation for the prevention of  
            cruelty of animals (humane society) to form under the  
            Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law without the need to  
            obtain endorsement of its articles or other special  
            restrictions, except that a humane society formed on or after  
            January 1, 2011, must state in its articles that the  
            corporation is formed pursuant to Corporations Code Section  
            10400.

          2)Eliminates the antiquated requirement that a city, county, or  
            city and county, pay up to $500 per month to a society  
            actively engaged in enforcing state laws for the prevention of  
            cruelty to animals or children, and instead authorizes local  
            governments to enter into contracts with humane societies for  
            the enforcement of laws for the prevention of cruelty to  
            animals, but also permits these societies to enforce these  








                                                                  SB 1417
                                                                  Page  2

            laws without a contract.

          3)Requires that a humane society seeking to appoint a humane  
            officer shall file a Petition for Order Confirming Appointment  
            of a Humane Officer with the superior court of the county in  
            which its principal office is located, in compliance with the  
            following rules:

             a)   Prior to filing the Petition, the society must submit to  
               the Department of Justice fingerprint images and related  
               information of all humane officer applicants for the  
               purposes of obtaining information as to the existence and  
               content of a record of state convictions and arrests;

             b)   Prior to filing the Petition, the society shall serve a  
               copy on:  i) the police department having jurisdiction in  
               the city in which the principal office of the appointing  
               society is located; ii) the sheriff's department having  
               jurisdiction in the county in which the principal office of  
               the appointing society is located; iii) the Department of  
               the California Highway Patrol; iv) the State Humane  
               Association of California; and, v) the Department of  
               Justice;

             c)   The society must attach to the petition a number of  
               supporting documents, including:  i) proof of proper  
               incorporation of the society; ii) criminal record  
               information of the appointee; iii) a copy of the society's  
               insurance policy for at least $1 million; iv) proof that  
               the appointee has met training requirements; and, v)  
               documentation that the society is operating a shelter or  
               has contracted with another entity to shelter any animals  
               it seizes, as specified; and,

             d)   If the society has not previously appointed a humane  
               officer, then it must also attach to the petition an  
               affidavit that demonstrates the society's competence to  
               appoint a humane officer by providing additional  
               information, such as:  i) evidence of partnerships with  
               other community agencies; ii) current or prior law  
               enforcement experience or non-profit managerial experience;  
               iii) cash reserve and donor base of the society; and, iv)  
               need for the humane officer in the county.

          4)Provides that a party that was required to be served with the  








                                                                  SB 1417
                                                                  Page  3

            Petition may file an opposition to the Petition, which shall  
            be filed no later than 15 days after the Petition and is  
            limited in subject matter to the competency of the society to  
            appoint and supervise a humane officer, and the  
            qualifications, background, and fitness of the appointee that  
            are specific to the work of a humane officer.  Permits the  
            society to file a reply to any opposition to the Petition no  
            later than 10 days after service of the opposition.

          5)Specifies certain conditions upon which the court is required  
            to deny the petition without further consideration if the  
            society cannot demonstrate in its submitted materials that:

             a)   In the case of a Petition to appoint a level 1 humane  
               officer, at least 5 years have elapsed between the date the  
               society filed its articles of incorporation and filed the  
               Petition.  In the case of a Petition to appoint a level 2  
               humane officer, at least one year must have elapsed.

             b)   The society has a written agreement with another entity,  
               such as a public or private animal shelter or licensed  
               veterinary clinic, that:  i) provides for the humane care  
               and treatment of any animals seized by the society; ii) is  
               capable of preserving evidence that may be used to  
               prosecute an animal cruelty case; and, iii) is compliant  
               with all applicable federal, state and local laws,  
               including licensing laws.  Alternatively, the society may  
               operate its own animal shelter that meets these three  
               requirements.  

           6)Requires the court, in determining whether to confirm the  
            appointment, to review the appointee's qualifications and any  
            documents that have been provided in support of or in  
            opposition to confirmation of the appointment.  Provides that  
            if the court finds that the appointee is "qualified and fit to  
            act as a humane officer", then the court shall issue an order  
            confirming the appointment, otherwise it may deny the  
            appointment.
           
           7)Provides that any humane officer confirmed prior to January 1,  
            2012 shall not be required to seek a new court order  
            confirming his or her appointment, but that a level 2 humane  
            officer shall file a certificate of compliance with criminal  
            background requirements, as specified, with the Department of  
            Justice on or before January 1, 2012, or that humane officer's  








                                                                 SB 1417
                                                                  Page  4

            appointment will be immediately revoked.
           
           8)Requires a party petitioning for a revocation of the  
            appointment of a humane officer to follow the same law and  
            motion requirements for filing, service, and format of papers  
            submitted to the court that apply to the petition to confirm  
            appointment of the officer.     

           9)Requires that all level 1 and level 2 humane officers complete  
            the background checks and physical and mental evaluations  
            currently required only of level 1 officers.  Additionally  
            requires a level 2 humane officer to provide proof of  
            compliance with criminal background check requirements, as  
            specified, by filing a certificate of compliance with the  
            Department of Justice on or before January 1, 2012, or that  
            humane officer's appointment will be immediately revoked.

          10)Requires humane officers to complete continuing education and  
            training requirements during each three-year period following  
            his or her appointment.  Requires Level 1 humane officers to  
            complete additional weapons training and range qualifications  
            every six months.  Requires all humane officers to file  
            certificates of compliance with the Department of Justice at  
            the end of the three-year or six-month period.  Provides that  
            failure to comply with the ongoing training requirements shall  
            result in revocation of the humane officer's appointment at  
            the end of a three-year term.

          11)Requires all humane societies and humane officers to be in  
            full compliance with Section 14502 on or before January 1,  
            2012. 

          12)Authorizes the Department of Justice to charge a reasonable  
            fee sufficient to cover costs of maintaining various records  
            of certificates of compliance and other documents.  

          FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          analysis:

          1)For at least the first few years following enactment, the DOJ  
            would require one-half position, at an annual cost of about  
            $40,000 to establish a database, ensure timely compliance by  
            existing and new humane officers with the background check and  
            other certification requirements, and maintain all relevant  
            records. Given the relatively small numbers of humane officers  








                                                                  SB 1417
                                                                  Page  5

            statewide, over time these costs should decline. In addition  
            to the standard $32 fee for a criminal background check, the  
            department, in order to cover its staffing costs, would have  
            to charge each humane officer a fee of around $1,000 for a  
            certificate of completion in the first two years. (This  
            assumes around 40 officers would seek the certification during  
            this period.) After two years, the fee for a certificate,  
            assuming 20 per year, would have to be around $2,000 to cover  
            DOJ's staff costs. Given that the human officers are  
            volunteers, these fee levels may be unreasonably high, thus  
            requiring the General Fund to instead bear some portion of  
            DOJ's costs.

          2)The courts, recognizing the limited number of humane officers,  
            believes that the bill will only result in minor additional  
            workload, and more importantly, will provide a cost-effective  
            alternative to improve the existing process for approving new  
            humane officers.

          3)Any costs for local governments, such as sheriffs or police,  
            are non-reimbursable because they are afforded the  
            opportunity, but not required, to file an opinion with the  
            court regarding a pending petition for a humane officer  
            position.
           
          COMMENTS  :  This bill is sponsored by the Placer County Board of  
          Supervisors, the California State Sheriffs' Association, and the  
          State Humane Association of California, a non-profit membership  
          association of humane societies with over 130 member  
          organizations in the state.  This bill significantly revises  
          current law by imposing new procedures and requirements for the  
          appointment of humane officers by non-profit corporations formed  
          for the purpose of preventing cruelty to animals (customarily  
          referred to as "humane societies.")

          Humane officers occupy an unusual status in California between  
          purely private actors and public peace officers.  Humane  
          officers work to enforce the state's animal welfare laws, but  
          may be appointed only by a private non-profit humane society  
          formed under California's Corporations Code.  Appointment must  
          be followed by judicial confirmation of the appointment petition  
          before a person enjoys humane officer authority under the law.   
          Existing law explicitly provides that "a humane officer is not a  
          peace officer, but may exercise the powers of a peace officer at  
          all places within the state."  A humane officer's scope of  








                                                                  SB 1417
                                                                  Page  6

          powers can vary, depending on the level of training and animal  
          welfare education, but can include the ability to exercise the  
          powers of a peace officer in order to prevent animal cruelty,  
          make arrests, serve search warrants, and carry firearms.  

          According to the co-sponsor State Humane Association (SHAC),  
          there are approximately seventy-five humane officers in the  
          state, the majority of which work for a humane society that is a  
          member of SHAC and are not authorized to carry firearms.  Humane  
          officers serve the public good by assisting law enforcement  
          officials enforce animal cruelty laws, and the benefits they  
          provide typically comes at no cost to the state because officers  
          are volunteers or work for the non-profit humane society that  
          appointed them.  

          By design, this bill creates new obligations and  
          responsibilities for both the appointing humane society and an  
          appointee seeking confirmation as a humane officer, which could  
          conceivably have the effect of preventing some appointees from  
          being confirmed who under existing law might otherwise be  
          confirmed.  On balance, it is believed that the trade off  
          between weeding out unqualified or questionable candidates who  
          should not be granted the privilege of humane officer status  
          justifies imposing additional obligations and responsibilities  
          that may potentially deter well-meaning and qualified candidates  
          from pursuing appointment or forming a new humane society. 

          Under this bill, the period of time that a humane society must  
          wait before it can appoint a level 2 humane officer is set at  
          one year.  For appointment of a level 1 humane officer, who  
          differs mainly because of his or her authority to carry  
          firearms, there is a waiting period of five years.  This period  
          now starts running at the time of filing the articles of  
          incorporation, since endorsement of the articles is no longer  
          required.  Furthermore, there is no minimum time requirement for  
          the operation of a shelter that the petitioning group may  
          operate or contract with, because the relative age of the  
          shelter is thought not to be a guarantee of a well-run  
          operation; instead, strict qualitative benchmarks are imposed on  
          the evaluation of the shelter to assure it will protect any  
          seized animals that it shelters in the future.

          Similarly, this bill adds a number of qualitative examples of  
          documents and evidence that a petitioning society shall submit  
          in affidavit form to the court to demonstrate its competence to  








                                                                  SB 1417
                                                                  Page  7

          appoint a humane officer and show it has taken affirmative steps  
          to ensure success and working relationships in the community for  
          the future.  This assures the court has a wealth of information  
          on which to evaluate the petition, and also provides a basis for  
          reducing the waiting period from five years to one year for the  
          majority of petitions.
           
           This bill makes the procedural and law and motion rules for  
          revocation proceedings consistent with those to be applied for  
          confirmation of appointment proceedings.  

           Current law contains two categories of humane officers (level 1  
          and level 2) and prescribes the powers and qualifications for  
          each.  This bill requires that both level 1 and level 2 humane  
          officers be subject to the same disqualification standards,  
          background checks, and evaluations for physical, emotional, or  
          mental fitness as currently required for level 1 officers.   
          These are also some of the same requirements imposed on peace  
          officers.  As previously stated, humane officers are not peace  
          officers, but they may exercise the powers of a peace officer at  
          all places within the state in order to prevent cruelty to  
          animals.  Thus, they may serve warrants, make arrests, and use  
          reasonable force necessary to prevent the perpetration of  
          cruelty to animals.  Because humane officers have some authority  
          to act under the color of law, it is arguably appropriate to  
          ensure that they go through heightened background checks for  
          criminal history and physical and mental evaluations to ensure  
          that they are capable of carrying out their duties. 

          Current law requires a city or county to pay up to $500 per  
          month to a society actively engaged in enforcing state laws for  
          the prevention of cruelty to animals or children.  This bill  
          would instead authorize local governments to enter into  
          contracts with humane societies, thereby ensuring that a  
          contract is in place before a humane society can request payment  
          for its services.  This is intended to eliminate the likelihood  
          that a humane society could receive payment for services not  
          sanctioned or requested by a local government.  However, humane  
          societies would still be able to enforce state laws to prevent  
          cruelty to animals even in the absence of a contract.

          This code section and some neighboring sections also retain  
          references to societies for the prevention of cruelty to  
          children, which are obsolete.  Counties no longer contract with  
          humane societies for child welfare services because counties  








                                                                  SB 1417
                                                                  Page  8

          have assumed these responsibilities.  Accordingly, this bill  
          would delete the outdated references appropriately.

          This bill would require all humane officers to complete  
          certification of compliance for continuing education and  
          training during each three-year period following his or her  
          appointment.  The certificate of compliance must be filed with  
          the Department of Justice, who is authorized to charge a fee to  
          cover the reasonable cost of filing and processing the  
          certificates of compliance.  Failure to file the certificate of  
          compliance no later than twenty-one days after the expiration of  
          a three-year period would result in immediate revocation of the  
          appointment.  If the humane officer is authorized to carry a  
          firearm, he or she would additionally be required to complete  
          weapons training and range qualifications every six months, and  
          a certificate filed with the Department of Justice showing  
          compliance.
           

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Anthony Lew / JUD. / (916) 319-2334 


                                                                FN: 0006005