BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    







                      SENATE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY
                            Senator Loni Hancock, Chair              A
                             2013-2014 Regular Session               B

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          AB 1511 (Beth Gaines)                                      1
          As Amended June 3, 2014
          Hearing date:  June 10, 2014
          Penal Code
          MK:sl

                             CRIMINAL HISTORY INFORMATION:

                               ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICERS  


                                       HISTORY

          Source:  Charlotte Marcum-Rush

          Prior Legislation: None

          Support: American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to  
                   Animals; Los Angeles District Attorney's Office; City  
                   of Sacramento

          Opposition:None known

          Assembly Floor Vote:  Ayes 78 - Noes 0


                                         KEY ISSUE
           
          SHOULD THE DOJ AND LOCAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE AGENCIES BE PERMITTED TO  
          FURNISH STATE AND LOCAL SUMMARY CRIMINAL HISTORY INFORMATION TO AN  
          ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER UPON A SHOWING OF A COMPELLING NEED?


                                       PURPOSE
          


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                                                      AB 1511 (Beth Gaines)
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           The purpose of this bill is to allow the Department of Justice  
          (DOJ) and local criminal justice agencies to furnish state and  
          local summary criminal history information to an animal control  
          officer (ACO) upon a showing of a compelling need.  





          Existing law  requires the Department of Justice (DOJ) to  
          maintain state summary criminal history information.  (Penal  
          Code  11105(a).)


           Existing law  authorizes DOJ to furnish state summary criminal  
          history information to the following specified entities: 

                 the courts of California; 
                 peace officers, as defined; 
                 district attorneys of California; 
                 prosecuting city attorneys; 
                 city attorneys pursuing civil gang injunctions or drug  
               abatement actions; 
                 probation officers of California;  
                 parole officers of California;  
                 a public defender or attorney of record when  
               representing a person in proceedings upon a petition for a  
               certificate of rehabilitation and pardon;  
                 a public defender or attorney of record when  
               representing a person in a criminal case, or a parole,  
               mandatory supervision, or postrelease community supervision  
               revocation or revocation extension proceeding, and if  
               authorized access by statutory or decisional law;
                 any agency, officer, or official of the state if the  
               criminal history information is required to implement a  
               statute or regulation that expressly refers to specific  
               criminal conduct applicable to the subject person of the  
               state summary criminal history information, and contains  
               requirements or exclusions, or both, expressly based upon  
               that specified criminal conduct;
                 any city or county, city and county, district, or any  


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                                                      AB 1511 (Beth Gaines)
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               officer or official thereof if access is needed in order to  
               assist that agency, officer, or official in fulfilling  
               employment, certification, or licensing duties, and if the  
               access is specifically authorized by the city council,  
               board of supervisors, or governing board of the city,  
               county, or district if the criminal history information is  
               required to implement a statute, ordinance, or regulation  
               that expressly refers to specific criminal conduct  
               applicable to the subject person of the state summary  
               criminal history information, and contains requirements or  
               exclusions, or both, expressly based upon that specified  
               criminal conduct; 
                 the subject of the state summary criminal history  
               information; 
                 any person or entity when access is expressly authorized  
               by statute if the criminal history information is required  
               to implement a statute or regulation that expressly refers  
               to specific criminal conduct applicable to the subject  
               person of the state summary criminal history information,  
               and contains requirements or exclusions, or both, expressly  
               based upon that specified criminal conduct;  
                 Health officers of a city, county, city and county, or  
               district when in the performance of their official duties  
               preventing the spread of communicable diseases; 
                 any managing or supervising correctional officer of a  
               county jail or other county correctional facility; 
                 any humane society, or society for the prevention of  
               cruelty to animals for the appointment of humane officers; 
                 local child support agencies; 
                 county child welfare agency personnel who have been  
               delegated the authority of county probation officers to  
               access state summary criminal history information for the  
               specified purposes; 
                 the court of a tribe, or court of a consortium of  
               tribes, that has entered into an agreement with the state  
               as specified; 
                 child welfare agency personnel of a tribe or consortium  
               of tribes that has entered into an agreement with the state  
               as specified; 
                 an officer providing conservatorship investigations; 
                 a person authorized to conduct a guardianship  


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               investigation; and,
                 a humane officer for the purposes of performing his or  
               her duties.  (Penal Code  11105 (b).)

           Existing law  states that DOJ may furnish state summary criminal  
          history information, when specifically authorized, and  
          federal-level criminal history information upon a showing of  
          compelling need to any of the specified agencies, provided that  
          when information is furnished to assist an agency, officer, or  
          official of state or local government, a public utility, or any  
          other entity in fulfilling employment, certification, or  
          licensing duties, the employer must follow restrictions listed  
          in the Labor Code.  (Penal Code  11105(c).)
           
           Existing law  states, notwithstanding any other law, a human  
          resource agency or an employer may request from DOJ records of  
          all convictions or any arrest pending adjudication involving the  
          offenses specified of a person who applies for a license,  
          employment, or volunteer position, in which he or she would have  
          supervisory or disciplinary power over a minor or any person  
          under his or her care.  Requires DOJ to furnish the information  
          to the requesting employer and also send a copy of the  
          information to the applicant.  (Penal Code  11105.3(a).) 


           Existing law  authorizes any local criminal justice agency as  
          defined to compile local summary criminal history information  
          and requires the local criminal justice agency to furnish this  
          information to any of the specified entities.  (Penal Code   
          13300.) 


           This bill  allows the DOJ or local criminal justice agencies to  
          supply criminal history information to an animal control  
          officer, as defined, for the purpose of performing his or her  
          duties and upon a showing of a compelling need.
          
                    RECEIVERSHIP/OVERCROWDING CRISIS AGGRAVATION

          For the last several years, severe overcrowding in California's  
          prisons has been the focus of evolving and expensive litigation  


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          relating to conditions of confinement.  On May 23, 2011, the  
          United States Supreme Court ordered California to reduce its  
          prison population to 137.5 percent of design capacity within two  
          years from the date of its ruling, subject to the right of the  
          state to seek modifications in appropriate circumstances.   

          Beginning in early 2007, Senate leadership initiated a policy to  
          hold legislative proposals which could further aggravate the  
          prison overcrowding crisis through new or expanded felony  
          prosecutions.  Under the resulting policy, known as "ROCA"  
          (which stands for "Receivership/ Overcrowding Crisis  
          Aggravation"), the Committee held measures that created a new  
          felony, expanded the scope or penalty of an existing felony, or  
          otherwise increased the application of a felony in a manner  
          which could exacerbate the prison overcrowding crisis.  Under  
          these principles, ROCA was applied as a content-neutral,  
          provisional measure necessary to ensure that the Legislature did  
          not erode progress towards reducing prison overcrowding by  
          passing legislation, which would increase the prison population.  
            

          In January of 2013, just over a year after the enactment of the  
          historic Public Safety Realignment Act of 2011, the State of  
          California filed court documents seeking to vacate or modify the  
          federal court order requiring the state to reduce its prison  
          population to 137.5 percent of design capacity.  The State  
          submitted that the, ". . .  population in the State's 33 prisons  
          has been reduced by over 24,000 inmates since October 2011 when  
          public safety realignment went into effect, by more than 36,000  
          inmates compared to the 2008 population . . . , and by nearly  
          42,000 inmates since 2006 . . . ."  Plaintiffs opposed the  
          state's motion, arguing that, "California prisons, which  
          currently average 150% of capacity, and reach as high as 185% of  
          capacity at one prison, continue to deliver health care that is  
          constitutionally deficient."  In an order dated January 29,  
          2013, the federal court granted the state a six-month extension  
          to achieve the 137.5 % inmate population cap by December 31,  
          2013.  

          The Three-Judge Court then ordered, on April 11, 2013, the state  
          of California to "immediately take all steps necessary to comply  


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          with this Court's . . . Order . . . requiring defendants to  
          reduce overall prison population to 137.5% design capacity by  
          December 31, 2013."  On September 16, 2013, the State asked the  
          Court to extend that deadline to December 31, 2016.  In  
          response, the Court extended the deadline first to January 27,  
          2014 and then February 24, 2014, and ordered the parties to  
          enter into a meet-and-confer process to "explore how defendants  
          can comply with this Court's June 20, 2013 Order, including  
          means and dates by which such compliance can be expedited or  
          accomplished and how this Court can ensure a durable solution to  
          the prison crowding problem."

          The parties were not able to reach an agreement during the  
          meet-and-confer process.  As a result, the Court ordered  
          briefing on the State's requested extension and, on February 10,  
          2014, issued an order extending the deadline to reduce the  
          in-state adult institution population to 137.5% design capacity  
          to February 28, 2016.  The order requires the state to meet the  
          following interim and final population reduction benchmarks:

                 143% of design bed capacity by June 30, 2014;
                 141.5% of design bed capacity by February 28, 2015; and,
                 137.5% of design bed capacity by February 28, 2016. 

          If a benchmark is missed the Compliance Officer (a position  
          created by the February 10, 2016 order) can order the release of  
          inmates to bring the State into compliance with that benchmark.   


          In a status report to the Court dated May 15, 2014, the state  
          reported that as of May 14, 2014, 116,428 inmates were housed in  
          the State's 34 adult institutions, which amounts to 140.8% of  
          design bed capacity, and 8,650 inmates were housed in  
          out-of-state facilities.   

          The ongoing prison overcrowding litigation indicates that prison  
          capacity and related issues concerning conditions of confinement  
          remain unresolved.  While real gains in reducing the prison  
          population have been made, even greater reductions may be  
          required to meet the orders of the federal court.  Therefore,  
          the Committee's consideration of ROCA bills -bills that may  


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          impact the prison population - will be informed by the following  
          questions:

                 Whether a measure erodes realignment and impacts the  
               prison population;
                 Whether a measure addresses a crime which is directly  
               dangerous to the physical safety of others for which there  
               is no other reasonably appropriate sanction; 
                 Whether a bill corrects a constitutional infirmity or  
               legislative drafting error; 
                 Whether a measure proposes penalties which are  
               proportionate, and cannot be achieved through any other  
               reasonably appropriate remedy; and,
                 Whether a bill addresses a major area of public safety  
               or criminal activity for which there is no other  
               reasonable, appropriate remedy.

                                      COMMENTS

          1.  Need for The bill  

          According to the author:

               In today's society, owning pets is almost universal.   
               In performing their duties, animal control officers  
               interact with members of the community from every  
               background and walk of life much like peace officers.   
               Unfortunately not all those they interact with on a day  
               to day basis are upstanding citizens.  They often work  
               on complex criminal cases alone or in concert with  
               local law enforcement.  Animal control officers,  
               however, lacking status as traditional peace officers,  
               often do not have the same protections. 

               Under current law, animal control officers are not  
               afforded access to detailed criminal histories as  
               traditional law enforcement officers, even though they  
               are often encountering the same individuals.  Most ACOs  
               do not carry firearms, stun guns, batons or other  
               personal protection devices.



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               AB 1511 would amend existing law to allow Animal  
               Control Officers the ability to request local and state  
               criminal history summaries from the Department of  
               Justice and local agencies based upon showing a  
               compelling need.  By affording this information to  
               ACOs, law enforcement can then prioritize their  
               resources to accompany ACOs to the most dangerous  
               areas.



































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               The bill would also permit the agencies to charge a  
               reasonable fee to sufficiently cover the costs  
               associated with providing such information.




          2.   Access to Criminal History Information by Animal Control  
          Officer  

          Existing law sets forth who is authorized to receive criminal  
          history information compiled by the DOJ or by local agencies.   
          Those authorized to receive the information include humane  
          officers.  This bill would give animal control officers the  
          right to receive that information to be used in the performance  
          of their duties when they show a compelling need.

          Supporters argue that animal control officers and humane  
          officers are similarly situated and since current law authorizes  
          humane officers access to state and local summary criminal  
          history information, animal control officers should be provided  
          that same access.  Animal control officers' duties are not  
          prescribed by state law, they are tasked, generally speaking,  
          with animal control and compliance functions.  Alternatively,  
          humane officers are employed by a humane society or a society  
          for the prevention of cruelty to animals and are statutorily  
          tasked to prevent animal cruelty, using reasonable force if  
          necessary to accomplish their duties. (Corp. Code, 14502,  
          subds. (a) & (h).)  To be appointed a humane officer, a person  
          must undergo a criminal background check, file a petition for  
          order confirming the appointment that must be served to the  
          local police department, local sheriff's department, Department  
          of California Highway Patrol, State Humane Association of  
          California, local animal control agency, and DOJ, all of who  
          have the right to oppose the petition, and take and subscribe  
          the oath of office prescribed for peace officers. (Corp. Code,   
          14502, subd. (b).) 

          Additionally, state law requires that all humane officers  
          furnish a set of fingerprints to DOJ and the Federal Bureau of  
          Investigation to be kept on file and "[b]e of good moral  


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          character, as determined by a thorough background check." (Corp.  
          Code,  14502, subd. (h); Gov. Code,  1030 & 1031.)  Humane  
          officers also must be removed from their position upon the  
          occurrence of any one of a list of specified condition, such as  
          the conviction of a felony or finding that the person is  
          mentally incompetent or being adjudged addicted or in danger of  
          becoming addicted to narcotics. (Corp. Code,  14502, subd. (h);  
          Gov. Code,  1029.)  No such similar requirements are placed on  
          animal control officers.  

          This bill distinguishes animal control officers from humane  
          officers by requiring the animal control officers make a showing  
          of compelling need before accessing state criminal history  
          information from the DOJ.

          3.  Argument in Support  

          The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals  
          supports this bill stating:

               AB 1511 recognizes the dangers animal control officers  
               face by authorizing the Department of Justice and local  
               criminal justice organizations to provide access to  
               criminal background information to ACOs. Knowing this  
               information is critical in keeping animal control  
               officers safe as they seek to enforce the animal  
               welfare laws throughout their communities.

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