BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                            



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                                    THIRD READING


          Bill No:  AB 2264
          Author:   Levine (D), et al.
          Amended:  8/4/14 in Senate
          Vote:     27

           
           SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE  :  7-0, 6/24/14
          AYES:  Hancock, Anderson, De León, Knight, Liu, Mitchell,  
            Steinberg
           
          SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  7-0, 8/4/14
          AYES:  De León, Walters, Gaines, Hill, Lara, Padilla, Steinberg
           
          ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  Not relevant


           SUBJECT  :    Victim compensation:  guide, signal, or service dogs

           SOURCE  :     Author


           DIGEST  :    This bill expands eligibility for reimbursement under  
          the Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) to cover costs  
          associated with the injury or death of a guide, signal, or  
          service dog as a result of a crime, as specified.

           ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing law:

          1.Requires the court to order a defendant to make restitution to  
            the victim(s) of the defendant's crime, based on the amount of  
            loss claimed by the victim(s) or any other showing to the  
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            court.  The court shall order full restitution for the losses  
            caused by the defendant's crime unless the court finds and  
            states compelling and extraordinary reasons for not doing so.   
             

          2.Provides that it is an infraction for any person to permit any  
            dog owned, harbored, or controlled by him/her to cause injury  
            to, or the death of any guide, signal, or service dog, as  
            defined.  Provides that a violation is an infraction  
            punishable by a fine not to exceed $250 if the injury or death  
            to the guide, signal, or service dog was caused by the  
            person's failure to exercise ordinary care in the control of  
            his/her dog.  

          3.Provides that it is a misdemeanor if the injury or death of  
            any guide, signal, or service dog was caused by the person's  
            reckless disregard in the exercise of control over his/her dog  
            under circumstances that constitute such a departure from the  
            conduct of a reasonable person as to be incompatible with a  
            proper regard for the safety and life of any guide, signal, or  
            service dog.  The penalty is up to one year in county jail  
            and/or a fine of 2,500-$5,000. 
           
          4.Provides that a person convicted of causing injury or death to  
            any guide, signal or service dog may also be ordered to make  
            restitution to the person who had ownership or custody of the  
            guide, signal, or service dog and may be liable for any  
            veterinary bills and replacement costs, or other reasonable  
            costs deemed appropriate by the court.  

          5.States that any person who intentionally causes injury to, or  
            the death of any guide, signal or service dog, as defined,  
            while the dog is in the discharge of its duties is guilty of a  
            misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in the county jail up  
            to one year and/or a fine not to exceed $10,000.  

          6.Provides that any defendant convicted of a violation of  
            injuring or killing a guide, signal or service dog shall be  
            ordered to make restitution to the disabled person if it is  
            disabled or killed for any veterinary bills and replacement  
            costs of the dog, or other reasonable costs deemed appropriate  
            by the court.  

          7.Establishes within the Government Operations Agency the  

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            California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board  
            (Board) to operate the CalVCP to reimburse victims of crime  
            for the pecuniary losses they suffer as a direct result of  
            criminal acts.  Indemnification is made from the Restitution  
            Fund, which is continuously appropriated to the Board.  

          8.Requires that a victim or derivative victim seeking  
            compensation from the Board must sustain one or more of the  
            following:

             A.   Physical injury, as specified. 
             B.   Emotional injury and a threat of physical injury.
             C.   Emotional injury, as specified. 

          This bill:

          1.Provides that when a person causes injury to, or the death of,  
            any guide, signal, or service dog through the failure or  
            reckless disregard to exercise control over his/her dog or  
            through his/her intentional actions, the person whose dog was  
            injured or died may apply for compensation by the Board. 

          2.Extends eligibility criteria for reimbursement from the CalVCP  
            to include the expenses of veterinary services, replacement  
            costs, or other reasonable expenses, as ordered by the court,  
            in an amount not to exceed $10,000.

           Comments
           
          According to the author:

            Guide, service, and signal dogs are highly trained animals  
            that make a healthy, fulfilling and independent life possible  
            for people with a variety of physical challenges.  Current law  
            states that it is a criminal offence to cause injury, whether  
            intentional or unintentional, to a guide, signal or service  
            dog.  A defendant that is convicted in these attacks is  
            required to provide restitution for the harm caused to the  
            dog. 

            However, if the defendant is fiscally unable to provide  
            compensation, the victim is left unable to obtain funds to  
            care for the injuries sustained to their dog.  This bill would  
            state that if the defendant is unable to make restitution, the  

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            victim is eligible to apply for compensation under the  
            Victim's Compensation Fund as the dog is an extension of the  
            person and a vital component to their independence.    

            Without this bill, existing law is deficient in that in these  
            types of cases the victim is not made whole.  It is expected  
            that there will be very few such reimbursement cases in  
            California.  Therefore, it does not seem that this bill will  
            create a substantial demand on the Fund.  However, to the  
            individual, this bill means freedom and independence to the  
            person being served by the dog.

           Prior legislation  .  AB 1801 (Pavley, Chapter 322, Statutes of  
          2004) increased the penalties and fines for interfering with  a  
          guide, signal, or service dog, as specified, and for causing or  
          permitting any other dog to cause injury to, or the death of,  
          any guide, signal, or service dog, as defined.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  Yes   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  No

          According to the Senate Appropriations Committee:

                 Potential minor increase in claims reimbursement likely  
               less than $50,000 (Special Fund*) annually paid to victims  
               to cover costs for veterinary services, replacement costs,  
               and other reasonable expenses as ordered by the court.   
               Assuming reimbursement for two victims at the maximum  
               reimbursement amount of $10,000 would result in additional  
               costs of $20,000.  Arrest and conviction data from the  
               Department of Justice for the past three years indicate  
               only one or two arrests (and no convictions) per year for  
               the specified crimes potentially eligible for compensation.  
                

                 Minor ongoing costs (Special Fund*) the Board to process  
               additional claims for compensation.

          *Restitution Fund

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/5/14)

          Canine Companions for Independence
          Crime Victims United

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          Guide Dogs for the Blind

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  73-0, 5/23/14
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Allen, Ammiano, Bigelow, Bloom,  
            Bocanegra, Bonta, Bradford, Brown, Buchanan, Ian Calderon,  
            Campos, Chau, Chávez, Chesbro, Conway, Cooley, Dababneh,  
            Dahle, Daly, Dickinson, Donnelly, Eggman, Fong, Fox, Frazier,  
            Beth Gaines, Garcia, Gatto, Gomez, Gonzalez, Gordon, Gorell,  
            Gray, Grove, Hagman, Hall, Holden, Jones, Jones-Sawyer,  
            Levine, Linder, Logue, Lowenthal, Maienschein, Mansoor,  
            Medina, Mullin, Muratsuchi, Nazarian, Olsen, Pan, Patterson,  
            Perea, John A. Pérez, Quirk, Quirk-Silva, Rendon,  
            Ridley-Thomas, Rodriguez, Salas, Skinner, Stone, Ting, Wagner,  
            Waldron, Weber, Wieckowski, Wilk, Williams, Yamada, Atkins
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Bonilla, Harkey, Roger Hernández, Melendez,  
            Nestande, V. Manuel Pérez, Vacancy

          JG:k  8/6/14   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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