Tuesday, May 31, 2011

CCBA Bills Overcome Suspense

The Assembly Appropriations Committee was good to CCBA-sponsored and supported legislation last Friday (5/27), approving all four measures that had been held on the committee's Suspense file.

Two of the CCBA-sponsored bills were approved by unanimous 17-0 votes of the committee:

AB 545 by Assembly Speaker John PĂ©rez, which would amend Penal Code §273.5 to extend the protections the law provides to victims of felony domestic violence to persons in a dating or engagement relationship. The bill is based on CCBA Resolution 06-05-2009.

AB 1147 by Assembly Member Mariko Yamada, which would require social workers to include in the reports they are already required to prepare on teen parents in foster care information on what age and developmental-appropriate services the minor received, consistent with the Teen Parents in Foster Care Act (SB 1178 by Senator and former CCBA delegate Sheila James Kuehl, of 2004). The bill is based on CCBA Resolution 03-04-2010.

A third bill co-sponsored by the CCBA, AB 308 by Assembly Member Tom Ammiano,was approved with amendments on a vote of 11-6. As amended, the bill would require the Department of Justice, in consultation with the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and other legal experts, to develop guidelines for policies and procedures to ensure the reliability of eyewitness identifications by January 1, 2013, and to make a report on those guidelines - along with any needed implementing legislation - to the Legislature by July 1, 2013. AB 308 reflects the recommendations of the California Commission of the Fair Administration of Justice to address well-documented deficiencies in current eyewitness identification procedures which have too often led to innocent people being convicted and the guilty left free to commit other crimes. AB 308 - which also would allow expert testimony regarding the reliability of an eyewitness identification to be admitted at trial in a criminal action or specified juvenile court proceedings if the proponent of the evidence establishes relevancy and proper qualifications of the witness - is co-sponsored by the CCBA, based on CCBA Resolution 01-13-2010.

Finally, the Appropriations Committee approved, on a tight 9-7 vote, AB 52 by Assembly Member Mike Feuer, which would require health care service plans licensed by the Department of Managed Health Care and health insurers certificated by the California Department of Insurance, effective January 1, 2012, to apply for prior approval of proposed rate increases, under specified conditions, and imposes on regulators specific rate review criteria, timelines, and hearing requirements. The bill is supported by the CCBA, as consistent with provisions of CCBA Resolution 02-02-2010.

All bills referenced must be approved by the full Assembly by Friday (June 3), in order to stay on track for enactment this year.

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