BILL ANALYSIS Ó Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair SB 534 (Corbett) Hearing Date: 05/26/2011 Amended: 04/25/2011 Consultant: Jolie Onodera Policy Vote: Public Safety 6-0 _________________________________________________________________ ____ BILL SUMMARY: SB 534 would provide that victims of sexual assault are not required to participate in the criminal justice system or cooperate with law enforcement in order to be provided with a forensic medical examination. _________________________________________________________________ ____ Fiscal Impact (in thousands) Major Provisions 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 Fund Additional forensic Potentially major state-reimbursable costs; General medical exams $120 - $900 per one percent of reported victims; offset in whole or in part by up to 15 percent of available federal VAWA Federal funds received to reimburse mandated local costs Additional sexual Minor costs annually to DOJ Special* assault kits *DNA Identification Fund _________________________________________________________________ ____ STAFF COMMENTS: SUSPENSE FILE. AS PROPOSED TO BE AMENDED. The federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) appropriates grants, including the Services-Training-Officers-Prosecutors (STOP) Formula Grant Program, to fund a variety of victim services including sexual assault and domestic violence programs. California receives approximately $13 million annually through the VAWA for various qualifying programs. The California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) is the designated agency that administers the VAWA STOP Program and allocates the funds consistent with STOP Program requirements to support victim services agencies, law enforcement, prosecution, and the courts. Cal EMA indicated that STOP Program funds are used for rape crisis center services, as well as for law enforcement and medical personnel training regarding forensic medical exams, but are not used to fund payment for the actual exams. SB 534 (Corbett) Page 3 To be eligible to receive VAWA funds, states must certify that they are in compliance with the statutory eligibility requirements of the STOP Program. The 2005 reauthorization of the VAWA statute required that the state or another governmental entity incur the full out-of-pocket cost of forensic medical exams for victims of sexual assault. Further, effective January 5, 2009, a state is not entitled to funds under the STOP Program unless victims of sexual assault are not required to participate in the criminal justice system or cooperate with local law enforcement in order to be provided with a forensic medical exam at no cost to the victim (42 U.S.C. §3796gg-4). This bill would mandate that forensic medical exams be afforded to all victims of sexual assault regardless of their decision to participate in the criminal justice system or cooperate with law enforcement. Under existing law, forensic medical exams that are requested by law enforcement are charged to the local law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction in which the alleged offense was committed. Under current law, victims may only receive a forensic medical exam free of charge when a law enforcement agency requests and authorizes an exam. Under circumstances where a victim chooses not to cooperate with law enforcement and the agency does not authorize an exam, the victim may not receive such an exam. As a result, the jurisdiction is out of compliance with VAWA regulations, thereby jeopardizing the state's compliance with VAWA and eligibility for STOP Program funding. This bill will likely result in an increased number of forensic medical examinations that may not have otherwise been provided to victims of sexual assault who choose not to cooperate with law enforcement or participate in the criminal justice system. As the VAWA is not a mandated federal program but requires compliance for grant eligibility, any additional exams not requested by law enforcement will result in mandated reimbursable local costs. The cost of forensic medical exams varies by jurisdiction and ranges from $400 - $3,000 per exam. It is unknown how many additional victims of sexual assault will be afforded a forensic medical exam under the provisions of this bill, as the total number of sexual assault victims is unknown and vastly underreported. In Fiscal Year 2009-10, there were approximately SB 534 (Corbett) Page 4 30,000 reported victims of sexual assault in California. For every additional one percent of victims requesting an exam who otherwise would not have done so, the cost for 300 exams would range between $120,000 and $900,000 per year. Additionally, to the extent additional forensic exams allow for the collection of timely evidence for future use when victims may decide to come forward and cooperate with law enforcement, these additional medical exams could lead to prosecution and incarceration costs of an indeterminable amount. Author's amendments would specify that federal funds provided to Cal EMA in the annual budget act shall be used to offset any resulting state-mandated reimbursable costs within the provisions of the section of the bill that would otherwise be claimable through the state mandates reimbursement process.