BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                    AB 2160


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          Date of Hearing:  March 29, 2016
          Counsel:               Sandra Uribe


                         ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY


                       Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr., Chair





          AB  
                        2160 (Bonta) - As Amended  March 28, 2016




          SUMMARY:  Expands eligibility for compensation under the Victim  
          Compensation Program (CalVCP) and increases compensation limits  
          for specified losses which are already reimbursed.   
          Specifically, this bill:  

          1)Conforms the application deadline for victims of specified sex  
            crimes to the statute of limitations for those crimes.

          2)Authorizes compensation for a victim's emotional injury  
            incurred as a direct result of distribution of child  
            pornography in which the victim appeared, and for the crime of  
            cyber exploitation.

          3)Increases compensation limits for reimbursement of installing  
            or increasing residential security from $1,000 to $2,000.

          4)Increases compensation limits for relocation from $2,000 to  
            $4,500, and allows relocation for reason of medical necessity.

          5)Increases compensation limits for crime scene clean-up costs  
            from $1,000 to $2,000.

          6)Authorizes compensating adult derivative victims of a deceased  








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            victim for up to five consecutive calendar days of lost income  
            due to bereavement.

          7)Expands reimbursement for an adult victim's loss of income to  
            include missed work to attend crime-related appointments,  
            including legal, medical, and mental health counseling  
            appointments.

          8)Authorizes compensating adult derivative victims for income  
            loss when it is necessary for them to miss work to take a  
            minor victim to crime-related appointments, including legal,  
            medical, and mental health counseling appointments.

          9)Allows reimbursement for transportation and child care  
            expenses that are necessary for a victim to attend  
            crime-related appointments, including legal, medical, and  
            mental health counseling appointments.

          10)Makes technical, non-substantive changes.

          EXISTING LAW:  

          1)Establishes the Victim Compensation and Government Claims  
            Board (board) to operate the CalVCP.  (Gov. Code, § 13950 et.  
            seq.)  

          2)Provides than an application for compensation shall be filed  
            with the board in the manner determined by the board.  (Gov.  
            Code, § 13952, subd.(a).)

          3)States that, except as specified, a person shall be eligible  
            for compensation when all of the following requirements are  
            met:

             a)   The person form whom compensation is being sought any of  
               the following:

               i)     A victim;

               ii)    A derivative victim; and,

               iii)    A person who is entitled to reimbursement for  








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                 funeral, burial or crime scene clean-up expenses pursuant  
                 to specified sections of the Government Code.

             b)   Either of the following conditions is met:

               i)     The crime occurred in California, but only when the  
                 board determines that there are federal funds available  
                 to the state for the compensation of crime victims; or 

               ii)    Whether or not the crime occurred in California, the  
                 victim was any of the following:

                  (1)       A California resident;  

                  (2)       A member of the military stationed in  
                    California; or,

                  (3)       A family member living with a member of the  
                    military stationed in California.  

             c)   If compensation is being sought for derivative victim,  
               the derivative victim is a resident of California or any  
               other state who is any of the following:

               i)     At the time of the crimes was the victim's parent,  
                 grandparent, sibling, spouse, child or grandchild;  

               ii)    At the time of the crime was living in the victim's  
                 household;  

               iii)   At the time of the crime was a person who had  
                 previously lived in the victim's house for a period of  
                 not less than two years in a relationship substantially  
                 similar to a previously listed relationship;

               iv)    Another family member of the victim who witnessed  
                 the crime, including, but not limited to, the victim's  
                 fiancé or fiancée, or,  

               v)     Is the primary caretaker of a minor victim, but was  
                 not the primary caretaker at the time of the crime.









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             d)   And other specified requirements.  (Gov. Code, § 13955.)

          4)Authorizes the board to reimburse for pecuniary loss for the  
            following types of losses:

             a)   Medical or medical-related expenses incurred by the  
               victim for services provided by a licensed medical  
               provider;

             b)   Out-patient psychiatric, psychological or other mental  
               health counseling-related expenses incurred by the victim  
               or derivative victim, including peer counseling services  
               provided by a rape crisis center;

             c)   Compensation equal to the loss of income or loss of  
               support, or both, that a victim or derivative victim incurs  
               as a direct result of the victim's injury or the victim's  
               death,

             d)   Cash payment to, or on behalf of, the victim for job  
               retraining or similar employment-oriented services;

             e)   The expense of installing or increasing residential  
               security, not to exceed $1,000;

             f)   The expense of renovating or retrofitting a victim's  
               residence or a vehicle to make them accessible or  
               operational, if it is medically necessary;

             g)   Relocation expenses up to $2,000 if the expenses are  
               determined by law enforcement to be necessary for the  
               victim's personal safety, or by a mental health treatment  
               provider to be necessary for the emotional well-being of  
               the victim; and,

             h)   Funeral or burial expenses.  (Gov. Code, § 13957, subd.  
               (a).)

          5)Limits the total award to or on behalf of each victim to  
            $35,000, except that this amount may be increased up to  
            $70,000 if federal funds for that increase are available.   
            (Gov. Code, § 13957, subd. (b).)








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          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown

          COMMENTS:  

          1)Author's Statement:  According to the author, "AB 2160 helps  
            California meet the needs of crime victims and their  
            advocates---from the college student who needs counseling  
            after discovering, years later, that sexually explicit photos  
            were taken of her as a child---to the single father who is  
            missing work and losing wages to care for a child who  
            witnessed gun violence.  Inadequate compensation for child  
            care and transportation are two of the most common barriers  
            preventing a victim from accessing medical care, mental health  
            services, or legal appointments.  AB 2160 reduces these  
            barriers by reimbursing victims for their associated child  
            care and transportation costs.  AB 2160 will provide critical  
            support for victims of violent crimes by expanding the  
            California Victim's Compensation Program to provide additional  
            resources and support to victims in order facilitate their  
            healing and recovery."

          2)CalVCP:  The CalVCP provides compensation for victims of  
            violent crime, or more specifically those who have been  
            physically injured or threatened with injury.  It reimburses  
            eligible victims for many crime-related expenses, such as  
            medical treatment, mental health services, funeral expenses,  
            and home security.  Funding for the board comes from  
            restitution fines and penalty assessments paid by criminal  
            offenders, as well as from federal matching funds.  (See board  
            Website <  http://www.vcgcb.ca.gov/board  >.)

          3)Gap Analysis Report:  In July 2015, the board issued the third  
            in a series of reports which sought to determine the unmet  
            needs of crime victims and barriers to services for crime  
            victims.  This final report outlined gaps in current services  
            and compensation provided under CalVCP.  The board's report  
            concluded that "CalVCP's limitations on benefits prevent the  
            Program from meeting the financial needs of victims. ?   
            Additionally, transportation expenses or wage loss due to  
            appointments or court appearances are not covered."  (See Gap  
            Analysis Report:  California's Underserved Crime Victims and  








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            their Access to Victim Services and Compensation, July 2015,  
            p. 9,  
            <  http://vcgcb.ca.gov/victims/ovcgrant2013/deliverables/CalVCPGa 
            pAnalysis-OVCGrant2013.pdf  >.)

          As to transportation expenses, the report notes, "Transportation  
            costs are not currently covered by CalVCP, except for  
            transportation to medical appointments more than 100 miles  
            from the victim's home.  The lack of reimbursement for  
            transportation costs limits victims' access to services,  
            including mental health treatment, medical appointments,  
            meetings with advocates, and court appearances (especially for  
            protective orders).  Offering reimbursement for transportation  
            costs will assist victims in rural areas and frontier counties  
            who may live hours from trauma-informed mental health  
            providers, hospitals, a victim advocate's office or the  
            courthouse.  It will also assist victims with limited  
            financial resources who live in urban areas and may need  
            assistance with bus fare or train fare to get to  
            appointments."  (Id. at p. 13.)  This bill allows compensation  
            of transportation costs for victims or derivative victims to  
            travel to medical and mental health appointments, attending  
            meetings with the prosecutor and other crime-related  
            appointments. 
          
          The report also noted that "Reimbursement for childcare and wage  
            loss while attending appointments (court, mental health  
            treatment, or medical appointments) for themselves or their  
            children is another loss not currently covered by CalVCP."   
            (Id. at p. 14.)  This bill addresses that deficiency by  
            allowing reimbursement for these costs when they are necessary  
            for a victim or derivative victim to attend the aforementioned  
            appointments.

          Another necessary change identified in the report was the need  
            to update the cap on relocation limits.  "Relocation limits  
            have not changed since the inception of the benefit 15 years  
            ago.  Reimbursements have not kept pace with increases in  
            costs for moving and rents."  (Id. at p. 13.)  This bill  
            increases the reimbursement limit for relocation expenses from  
            $2,000 to $4,000.  It also increases the reimbursement caps  
            for crime scene clean up and residential security from $1,000  








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            to $2,000.

          4)Argument in Support:  According to the Napa County District  
            Attorney, "AB 2160 is in direct response to the July 2015  
            report published by the California Victim's Compensation Board  
            (CalVCP) entitled "Gap Analysis Report: California's  
            Underserved Victims and their Access to Victim Services and  
            Compensation." The report makes numerous findings as to why  
            many victims of crime are not able to access the necessary  
            services and compensation they are entitled to under the law  
            as a result of language difficulties, lack of ability or  
            information to apply, lack of transportation to access  
            services and other barriers including mental disabilities and  
            other disorders. 

          "I have been a prosecutor for over 30 years and the elected  
            District Attorney for Napa County for the past 18 years. I  
            have also been a career advocate for the rights of victims and  
            our responsibility to do everything we can to help restore  
            their lives and their dignity. Fortunately, we have a very  
            stable Victims Trust Fund under the CalVCP that is able to  
            assist crime victims provided they know how and where to apply  
            for help. AB 2160 reaffirms existing law and expands to allow  
            for the present cost of services such as funeral and burial  
            expenses; mental health treatment; and emergency funding for  
            individuals who have lost their housing as a result of being  
            victimized, often by family members who are supposed to  
            support and care for them."  

          5)Related Legislation:  

             a)   AB 1563 (Rodriguez) establishes a six-month deadline for  
               the board to respond to an appeal from a denial of an  
               application for compensation.  AB 1563 is pending in the  
               Assembly Appropriations Committee.

             b)   AB 1754 (Waldron) creates a pilot program in San Diego  
               County to compensate victims of elder financial theft under  
               the CalVCP.

          6)Prior Legislation:  









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             a)   AB 1140 (Bonta), Chapter 569, revised standards for  
               involvement in a crime and for cooperation with the board  
               in various circumstances; authorized compensation for  
               non-consensual distribution of sexual images of minors, and  
               revised various other rules governing the CalVCP. 

             b)   AB 2809 (Leno), Chapter 587, Statutes of 2008, allowed a  
               minor who suffers emotional injury as a direct result of  
               witnessing a violent crime to be eligible for reimbursement  
               for the costs of outpatient mental health counseling if the  
               minor was in close proximity to the victim when he or she  
               witnessed the crime.

          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:
          
          Support

          California District Attorneys Association
          Alameda County District Attorney
          Napa County District Attorney

          Opposition
          
          None
            
          Analysis Prepared  
          by:              Sandy Uribe / PUB. S. / (916) 319-3744