Monday, July 11, 2011

Six of eight CCBA-Backed Bills Emerge from Busy Weeks of Committee Hearings

The two weeks leading up to the annual deadline for all bills to clear their second-house policy committee are among the busiest in the legislative calendar.  That was particularly true for this year's CCBA Legislative Program, which saw hearings on eight of its sponsored/supported measures - with six moving forward and two running aground.

Much of the action took place in the Public Safety committees of the two houses where, in three separate hearings, two significant CCBA-backed bills were approved, while another significant CCBA-co-sponsored bill fell temporary (we hope) victim to that state's lack of prison beds:
  • The last bill, AB 545 by Assembly Speaker John A. PĂ©rez, would add persons in a dating or engagement relationship to the list of person's protected by the felony domestic violence battery statute (Penal Code §273.5).  The bill, co-sponsored by the Los Angeles District Attorney's office and the CCBA (Resolution 06-05-2009, sponsored by 10 individual delegates), was held in Senate Public Safety Committee at its June 28 hearing (starts at 22:00 mark). See related blog post
  • One week later, at its July 5 hearing, the Senate Public Safety Committee approved CCBA-co-sponsored AB 308 (Resolution 1-13-2010 by the LACBA) by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano. 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 relating to the collection and handling of eyewitness evidence in criminal investigations. The objective is to ensure reliable and accurate identifications of criminal suspects, and to minimize the chance of suspect misidentification, which costs society both through wrongful incarceration of the innocent and the failure to pursue and convict the guilty. (See earlier post)
  • Finally, on July 7, the Assembly Public Safety Committee approved SB 490, Senator Loni Hancock's newly-created bill to put the question of eliminating the death penalty to the voters. (see related blog post).
Three bills sponsored or co-sponsored by the CCBA found their way to the Senate Judiciary Committee, with three different results:
  • The committee waived hearing of AB 1147 by Assemblymember Mariko Yamada, which had won unanimous approval of the Senate Human Services Committee the week before.  The bill, developed by the Women Lawyers of Sacramento (Resolution 03-04-2010), had been double-referred to the Judiciary Committee, but now moves directly to the Appropriations Committee. (See earlier post.)
  • On another double-referral, the committee approved AB 1396 by the Assembly Labor & Employment Committee, which had earlier won approval of the Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee.  That measure, from the BHBA (Resolution 04-01-2009), goes directly to the Senate Floor.  
  • The committee rejected AB 699 by Assemblymember Don Wagner, which would have added California to the growing list of states which authorize the use of Revocable Transfer on Death Deeds for estate planning purposes (Resolution 12-06-2009 by BASF).  The bill earlier had passed the Assembly on a vote of 78-1.  Because the author declined to seek and obtain reconsideration, the bill is dead. (See clip, beginning at 1:21:00 mark).
Rounding out the busy two weeks, two bills supported by the CCBA were approved by their respective policy committees. 
  • AB 52 by Assembly Member Mike Feuer, which would require pre-approval of health insurance rate increases (see earlier post), was approved by the Senate Health Committee on a vote of 5-3.  The bill is supported by the CCBA, as consistent with provisions of Resolution 02-02-2010 developed by the Beverly Hills Bar Association. (See earlier post).
  • SB 161 by Senator Bob Huff was approved by the Assembly Education Committee.  The bill, which is consistent with Resolution 04-03-2010 sponsored by the Alameda County Bar Association, would authorize school districts to train non-medical school employees who volunteer, to administer emergency antiseizure medication to students with epilepsy.

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