BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION
                              Senator Isadore Hall, III
                                        Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:           AB 2384          Hearing Date:    6/14/2016
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          |Author:    |Gallagher                                            |
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          |Version:   |6/6/2016    Amended                                  |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:      |Yes             |
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          |Consultant:|Felipe Lopez                                         |
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          SUBJECT: Terrorist activity


            DIGEST:    This bill requires the Office of Emergency Services  
          (OES), prior to January 1, 2018, to adopt a public education  
          program to enhance the public's knowledge about how to identify  
          and report suspected terrorist activity.

          ANALYSIS:
          
          Existing law:
          
          1)Creates OES in the office of the Governor, with specified  
            powers and duties relative to coordinating emergency services,  
            including the coordination of the State Emergency Plan, as  
            defined, and those programs necessary for the mitigation of  
            the effects of an emergency in the state. 

          2)Specifies that terrorist activity is generally punishable  
            under laws proscribing criminal conduct, including laws  
            proscribing train wrecking, false reporting of bombs, improper  
            possession or transport of explosives and hazardous materials,  
            and possession or use of weapons of mass destruction, assault,  
            and others. 

          This bill:

          1)Requires OES, prior to January 1, 2018, to adopt a public  
            education program to enhance the public's knowledge about how  







          AB 2384 (Gallagher)                                Page 2 of ?
          
          
            to identify and report suspected terrorist activity.

          2)Requires OES to post information about the program on its  
            Internet Web site.

          3)Requires OES to incorporate the program into relevant existing  
            programs and trainings. 


          Background

          Purpose of the bill.  According to the author, "California is  
          the most populous state in the nation, housing 12% of the U.S.  
          population.  It also is home to many top terrorist targets like  
          LAX, ports, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Disneyland.  It is  
          therefore imperative for Californians to be able to easily  
          identify and report suspicious activity.  This is especially  
          important as most domestic terrorist attacks in recent years  
          have been the work of lone wolves who act without official  
          coordination form overseas terrorist organizations.  California  
          residents are frequently the best line of defense to prevent  
          such attacks.  For example, in the recent attack in San  
          Bernardino, neighbors of Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik noticed  
          suspicious activity but failed to report it. " 

          Reporting suspicious activity. A 2012 study by the International  
          Association of Chiefs of Police and the Department of Homeland  
          Security (DHS), titled: "Improving the Public's Awareness and  
          Reporting of Suspicious Activity," found that many people do not  
          report suspicious activity because they fear retaliation,  
          incorrect reporting, or think it is not a worthwhile use of  
          police resources.  
           
          The study also found the public's definition of suspicious  
          activity differs from law enforcement's definition.   
          Participants tended to define suspicious activity as something  
          out of the ordinary or out of place considering the location.   
          In many cases, people gave their everyday environment as a  
          normal setting where any deviation would set off an internal  
          trigger.  Approximately 36 percent described traditional  
          criminal activity, such as someone brandishing a gun or breaking  
          into a car.  Only about five percent described activities that  
          may be indicative of terrorism.  Urban and suburban respondents  
          were more likely than rural respondents to mention an activity  
          that may lead to a terrorist act.  








          AB 2384 (Gallagher)                                Page 3 of ?
          
          

          The study makes several recommendations to increase  
          underreporting and overall understanding of suspicious activity.  
          Those recommendations include: 1) Local law enforcement and  
          community organizations should promote public involvement in  
          identifying and reporting suspicious activities through outreach  
          efforts and campaigns; 2) Public education efforts should  
          provide community members with a better understanding of what  
          suspicious activity entails; 3) Educating the public about what  
          behaviors to be aware of is essential to effective reporting;  
          and 4) Law enforcement should advertise clear and concise  
          methods by which people can report suspicious activity.

          Prior/Related Legislation
          
          AB 1346 (Gray, 2016) requires OES to update the State Emergency  
          Plan on or before January 1, 2018, and every five years  
          thereafter.  (Pending in Senate Governmental Organization  
          Committee)

          AB 918 (Cooley, Chapter 287, Statutes of 2013) required OES, on  
          or before July 31, 2015, to update the State Emergency Plan to  
          include proposed best practices for local governments and  
          nongovernmental entities to use to mobilize and evacuate people  
          with disabilities and others with access and functional needs  
          during an emergency or natural disaster. 

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


            SUPPORT:  

          None received

          OPPOSITION:

          None received