BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1407


                                                                    Page  1





          Date of Hearing:  May 27, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair


          AB  
          1407 (Atkins) - As Amended May 21, 2015


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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  YesReimbursable:   
          No


          SUMMARY:


          This bill, effective July 1, 2016, allows a court in a domestic  
          violence proceeding, to direct a wireless telephone service  
          provider (wireless provider) to transfer wireless phone numbers  








                                                                    AB 1407


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          and devices. Specifically, this bill:


          1)Allows a court, beginning July 1, 2016, in any Domestic  
            Violence Prevention Act proceeding, after notice and a  
            hearing, to issue an order directing a wireless telephone  
            service provider to transfer billing responsibility and rights  
            to a wireless phone number(s) to a requesting party, if the  
            requesting party is not the accountholder.  Requires that the  
            order be made to the wireless provider, served as specified,  
            and contain specified information.  


          2)Requires the wireless provider, when it cannot operationally  
            or technically effectuate the order, to notify the requesting  
            party within 72 hours.  


          3)Provides that a wireless provider, as part of the transfer of  
            billing responsibility, is not precluded from applying to the  
            requesting party any routine and customary requirements for  
            account establishment, including but not limited to  
            identification, financial information and customer  
            preferences.  


          4)Provides that no cause of action will lie against any wireless  
            provider for actions taken in accordance with a court order  
            issued pursuant to #1), above.


          5)Requires the Judicial Council, by July 1, 2016, to develop any  
            necessary forms or rules.


          FISCAL EFFECT:


          Minor and absorbable costs to the Judicial Council to develop  








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          forms or rules.


          COMMENTS:


          1)Purpose. Cell phones provide critical access to family,  
            friends, and support services.  Often one person is the  
            accountholder for all phones in the household, but if that  
            accountholder is also a batterer, he or she can use that  
            status to control the victim's cell phone, monitor calls and  
            track the victim's whereabouts.  This bill seeks to better  
            support victims of domestic violence by allowing a court to  
            direct the wireless service provider to give them control over  
            their own phones and their children's phones.  


            The author states, "Current law provides no mechanism for  
            victims of domestic violence . . . to break a wireless  
            telephone shared family plan contract when the abuser . . . is  
            the primary accountholder.  Allowing these individuals to  
            retain use of an existing wireless telephone number and access  
            to their contacts and other information stored within the  
            phone is important to the individual's safety and emotional  
            support."


          2)Background. Like all phones, cell phones, allow the user to  
            call family and friends and, if necessary, make emergency  
            calls.  Cell phones, particularly smart phones, also store the  
            user's address books, often without any backup, and they  
            enable texting, and if they are smart phones, they allow email  
            communication and full Internet access.  A cell phone's GPS  
            also lets the user locate nearby services.  



            A phone's accountholder may be able to track with whom a user  
            is communicating and can relatively easily track the location  








                                                                    AB 1407


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            of the user in real time through the phone's GPS. While there  
            are multiple ways to physically and electronically monitor a  
            person's location, being the legal owner of a phone allows for  
            greater possible access and potential abuse.  





            Transferring the phone to the victim, if they are not the  
            accountholder, will better protect him or her from electronic  
            monitoring, and will allow continued access to their support  
            network and emergency services.


          


          Analysis Prepared by:Jennifer Swenson / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081