BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                            Senator Loni Hancock, Chair              A
                             2011-2012 Regular Session               B

          AB 2194 (Beth Gaines)                                      4
          As Introduced February 23, 2012
          Hearing date:  June 12, 2012
          Corporations Code (URGENCY)


                          HUMANE OFFICERS: CRIMINAL HISTORY  


          Source:  State Humane Association of California

          Prior Legislation: SB 1417 (Cox) - Chapter 652, Stats. 2010

          Support: California State Sheriffs' Association; County of 
          Placer Board of Supervisors

          Opposition:Public Interest Coalition

          Assembly Floor Vote:  Ayes 72 - Noes 0

                                         KEY ISSUE



                                                      AB 2194 (Beth Gaines)
                                                                     Page 2


          The purpose of this bill is to add clarifying language enabling 
          the Department of Justice (DOJ) to perform a federal-level 
          criminal offender record information check on a humane officer 
           Existing law  requires the DOJ to maintain state summary criminal 
          history information, as defined, and to provide that information 
          to persons holding specified occupations including, to any 
          humane society, or SPCA for the specific purpose of appointing 
          humane officers.  (Penal Code  11105.) 

           Existing law  provides that an agency, officer, or official of 
          the state, or any city or county, city and county, district, or 
          any officer or official thereof, authorized to receive state 
          summary criminal history information may also transmit 
          fingerprint images and related information to the DOJ to be 
          transmitted to the FBI.  (Penal Code  11105(b)(10) and (11).)

           Existing law authorizes the DOJ to disseminate federal level 
          criminal history information received or compiled by the DOJ to 
          specified entities.  (Penal Code  11105.)

           Existing law  requires a classifiable set of the fingerprints of 
          every person employed as a peace officer of the state, or of a 
          county, city, city and county, or other political subdivision, 
          whether with or without compensation, to be furnished to the DOJ 
          and to the FBI by the appropriate appointing authority of the 
          agency by whom the person is employed.  (Government Code 

           Existing law  provides that only a humane society or SPCA is 
          eligible to petition for confirmation of an appointment of an 
          individual as a humane officer.  The duty of a humane officer is 
          to enforce the laws for the prevention of cruelty to animals.  
          (Corporations Code  14502(a)(1)(A).)



                                                      AB 2194 (Beth Gaines)
                                                                     Page 3

           Existing law  requires that the humane society or SPCA seeking 
          confirmation of a humane officer's appointment to comply with 
          the following provisions:

                 Submit to DOJ fingerprint images and related information 
               of all applicants for the purpose of obtaining information 
               as to the existence and content of a record of state 
               conviction and state arrests and also information as to the 
               existence and content of a record of state arrests for 
               which the DOJ establishes that the person is free on bail 
               or on his or her own recognizance.  
                 Serve a copy of the petition for order confirming 
               appointment of a humane officer to specified parties.  
                 File the petition seeking confirmation of the officer in 
               the superior court in the county in which the principle 
               office of the organization is located.  (Corporations Code 

           Existing law  requires the DOJ to provide the Humane Society or 
          SPCA with a state response regarding summary criminal history 
          information as provided by Penal Code Section 11105. 
          (Corporations Code  14502(b)(1)(A).)

           Existing law  requires the court to review the appointee's 
          qualifications and fitness to act as a humane officer and either 
          confirm or deny the appointment.  (Corporations Code  
           Existing law  describes the powers and qualifications of level 1 
          and level 2 humane officers.  Level 1 humane officers are 
          authorized to carry firearms, subject to specified requirements, 
          including background checks and mental and physical evaluations. 
           (Corporations Code 

           Existing law  requires that all humane officers submit 
          fingerprints to the DOJ for the purposes of obtaining criminal 
          background information.  (Corporations Code  14502(b)(1).)



                                                      AB 2194 (Beth Gaines)
                                                                     Page 4

           This bill  provides that DOJ shall forward the fingerprints 
          received by a person seeking appointment as a humane officer to 
          the FBI for a federal background check.

          In response to the unresolved prison capacity crisis, since 
          early 2007 it has been the policy of the chair of the Senate 
          Committee on Public Safety and the Senate President pro Tem to 
          hold legislative proposals which could further aggravate prison 
          overcrowding through new or expanded felony prosecutions.  Under 
          the resulting policy known as "ROCA" (which stands for 
          "Receivership/Overcrowding Crisis Aggravation"), the Committee 
          has held measures which create a new felony, expand the scope or 
          penalty of an existing felony, or otherwise increase the 
          application of a felony in a manner which could exacerbate the 
          prison overcrowding crisis by expanding the availability or 
          length of prison terms (such as extending the statute of 
          limitations for felonies or constricting statutory parole 
          standards).  In addition, proposed expansions to the 
          classification of felonies enacted last year by AB 109 (the 2011 
          Public Safety Realignment) which may be punishable in jail and 
          not prison (Penal Code section 1170(h)) would be subject to ROCA 
          because an offender's criminal record could make the offender 
          ineligible for jail and therefore subject to state prison.  
          Under these principles, ROCA has been applied as a 
          content-neutral, provisional measure necessary to ensure that 
          the Legislature does not erode progress towards reducing prison 
          overcrowding by passing legislation which could increase the 
          prison population.  ROCA will continue until prison overcrowding 
          is resolved.

          For the last several years, severe overcrowding in California's 
          prisons has been the focus of evolving and expensive litigation. 
           On June 30, 2005, in a class action lawsuit filed four years 
          earlier, the United States District Court for the Northern 
          District of California established a Receivership to take 



                                                      AB 2194 (Beth Gaines)
                                                                     Page 5

          control of the delivery of medical services to all California 
          state prisoners confined by the California Department of 
          Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR").  In December of 2006, 
          plaintiffs in two federal lawsuits against CDCR sought a 
          court-ordered limit on the prison population pursuant to the 
          federal Prison Litigation Reform Act.  On January 12, 2010, a 
          three-judge federal panel issued an order requiring California 
          to reduce its inmate population to 137.5 percent of design 
          capacity -- a reduction at that time of roughly 40,000 inmates 
          -- within two years.  The court stayed implementation of its 
          ruling pending the state's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.  

          On May 23, 2011, the United States Supreme Court upheld the 
          decision of the three-judge panel in its entirety, giving 
          California two years from the date of its ruling to reduce its 
          prison population to 137.5 percent of design capacity, subject 
          to the right of the state to seek modifications in appropriate 
          circumstances.  Design capacity is the number of inmates a 
          prison can house based on one inmate per cell, single-level 
          bunks in dormitories, and no beds in places not designed for 
          housing.  Current design capacity in CDCR's 33 institutions is 



          On January 6, 2012, CDCR announced that California had cut 
          prison overcrowding by more than 11,000 inmates over the last 
          six months, a reduction largely accomplished by the passage of 
          Assembly Bill 109.  Under the prisoner-reduction order, the 
          inmate population in California's 33 prisons must be no more 
          than the following:

                 167 percent of design capacity by December 27, 2011 
               (133,016 inmates);
                 155 percent by June 27, 2012;
                 147 percent by December 27, 2012; and
                 137.5 percent by June 27, 2013.
           This bill  does not aggravate the prison overcrowding crisis 
          described above under ROCA.


          1.  Need for This Bill  

          According to the author:

               The FBI requires very specific language in California 
               Statute before providing the required background 
               information established in SB 1417 (Cox).  
               Unfortunately, that specific language was not included 
               in the final version of SB 1417, creating a temporary 
               backlog of criminal background checks for humane 

               AB 2194 includes the specific and correct language for 
               the FBI and Attorney General's office so that the 
               criminal background information on humane officer 
               applicants can be obtained and the backlog cleared.

               Humane officers play a key role in the health and 
               safety of animals.  These well trained individuals have 
               been in in limbo due to a technicality leading to the 



                                                      AB 2194 (Beth Gaines)
                                                                     Page 7

          2.    FBI Background Check for Humane Officers  

          Humane officers are appointed by a humane society or a society 
          for the prevention of cruelty to animals.  Humane officers are 
          not peace officers but may exercise the powers of a peace 
          officer in order to prevent the perpetration of any act of 
          cruelty upon any animal.  Level 1 humane officers may carry a 
          firearm while Level 2 humane officers may not.  Both types of 
          humane officers receive appropriate POST training.

          In 2010, SB 1417 (Cox), created background checks for humane 
          officers.  The language in SB 1417 was not drafted correctly and 
          thus only state criminal background authorization was created; 
          no authorization for federal background checks was created.  
          This bill adopts the necessary language for the Department of 
          Justice to facilitate a federal FBI background check on those 
          being appointed as humane officers in California.