BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 247


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          Date of Hearing:  April 29, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair


          AB  
          247 (Waldron) - As Amended March 24, 2015


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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  YesReimbursable:   
          Yes


          SUMMARY:


          This bill establishes initial and continuing education/training  
          requirements for animal control officers (ACO), and includes  
          this education/training in the list of items for which revenue  








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          from dog license tag fees may be used.   Specifically, this  
          bill: 

          1)Requires persons appointed as animal control officers (ACOs)  
            to complete a course in the exercise of the powers of arrest.  
            ACOs appointed before January 1, 2016 shall complete training  
            by January 1, 2017.  Any ACOs appointed after that date shall  
            complete the training within one year of appointment.

          2)Requires 40 hours of continuing education and training  
            relating to the duties of an animal control officer during  
            each three year period from July 1, 2016, or from date of  
            appointment.



          3)Allows revenues from the issuance of dog license tag fees, and  
            fines collected in enforcement of license tags, to be used to  
            pay for initial and in-service training for persons charged  
            with enforcing animal control laws, including animal control  
            officers.

          FISCAL EFFECT:


          Local government annual costs in excess of $380,000, (a)  
          $290,000 to provide the proposed ongoing training of 40 hours  
          every 3 years to the existing 1,200 ACOs in the state, and (b)  
          $92,000 to provide the initial powers of arrest training to new  
          ACOs; and one-time-cost of over $26,000 for the 35 ACOs that  
          currently lack the powers of arrest training.  Local agencies  
          can increase local dog license fees to cover the additional  
          costs; however, if the license fee increases do not create  
          sufficient revenue to offset the additional local agencies  
          costs, there is a potential reimbursable state mandated cost.  


          No costs to state agencies.









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          COMMENTS:


          1)Purpose.  According to the author, "AB 247 requires ACOs to  
            complete a standardized training course in the powers of  
            arrest and the powers of serving warrants. The bill also  
            requires ACOs to complete continuing education and training  
            courses once every three years. The provisions of the bill are  
            self-regulating and give local jurisdictions flexibility how  
            they want to meet the training guidelines set by the  
            California Animal Control Directors Association, including  
            no-cost and in-house training."



          "Animal control officers (ACOs) need training throughout their  
            career to properly to carry out the job's responsibilities.  
            Additional training will ensure the safety of the ACOs and  
            allow them to adequately handle dangerous situations. AB 247  
            will ensure that ACOs safely conduct their duties and will  
            prevent unintended abuse of authority."
          2)Background.  Current law states that animal control officers  
            are not peace officers but may exercise the powers of arrest  
            of a peace officer and the power to serve warrants during the  
            course and within the scope of their employment, if those  
            officers successfully complete a course in the exercise of  
            those powers pursuant to California Penal Code.  However, they  
            are not required to take the corresponding training provided  
            by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards Training (POST).


          3)Argument in Support:  According to the Humane Society of the  
            United States, "Animal control officers (ACOs) are no longer  
            just dog catchers.  They are animal law enforcement officers,  
            with all of the obligations, authority-and dangers-of peace  
            officers.  They respond to life-threatening emergency calls  
            daily, protecting the lives of both people and animals.









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          "Almost all are unarmed-usually having only a clipboard and a  
            catch pole for protection-yet they investigate felony crimes,  
            from murder to the most heinous and sadistic animal abuse,  
            putting people in state prison.  They are usually alone day  
            and night-without the assistance of peace officers.

          "Despite the duties of enforcing state and local laws, including  
            felonies, there is no standardized training or in-service  
            training for ACOs."
          4)Argument in Opposition:  According to Jolena Voorhis of the  
            Urban Counties Caucus, "While generally we are in support of  
            training, by requiring animal control officials to receive  
            specific training, this bill would have a fiscal impact on  
            counties.  For urban counties, many of which may have several  
            animal control officers, this could be a significant fiscal  
            impact.  The bill does allow dog licenses fees to be used to  
            provide funding, however, our counties have noted that this  
            will not cover the cost of this training.  Until the bill  
            provides a funding source to cover the cost of this training,  
            UCC will have to remain opposed."


          5)Related Legislation: SB 237 (Anderson and Leno), pending in  
            Senate Appropriations, requires training for animal control  
            officers in the exercise of the powers of arrest and to serve  
            warrants.  The bill would also require animal control officers  
            to complete at least 40 hours of continuing education and  
            training during each three year period.  Adds training of  
            animal control officers to the list of beneficiaries of dog  
            license fees. 





          6)Prior Legislation: 









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             a)   AB 1511 (Gaines), Chapter 449, Statutes of 2014,  
               allowed animal control officers to access summary  
               criminal history information from a criminal justice  
               agency when necessary for the performance of his or  
               her official duties and upon a showing of compelling  
               need.
              
             b)   SB 1278 (Leno and Wyland), of the  2013 - 2014  
               Legislative Session, would have required initial  
               training of animal control officers and 40 hours of  
               continuing education every three years.  Proposed use  
               of dog license fees to be used for the training of  
               animal control officers.  SB 1278 was held in the  
               Senate Appropriations.  

             c)   SB 1162 (Runner), Chapter 594, Statutes of 2012,  
               authorized animal control   officers to possess and  
               administer a tranquilizer that contains a controlled  
               substance to wild, stray, or abandoned animal, with  
               direct or indirect supervision as determined by a  
               licensed veterinarian, provided that the officer meets  
               prescribed training requirements.

             d)   SB 1190 (Cedillo), Chapter 109, Statutes of 2012,  
               removed the requirement that animal control officers  
               and illegal dumping enforcement officers complete  
               training, certified by the Department of Consumer  
               Affairs, in order to be permitted to carry a club or  
               baton and instead required the officers to complete  
               training approved by the Commission on Peace Officer  
               Standards and Training in the carrying and use of the  
               club or baton.




          Analysis Prepared by:Pedro R. Reyes / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081









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