Legislation sponsored by the state Sheriffs Association that threatens the system of printed public notices in newspapers has been assigned to the  Senate Public Safety Committee and could be scheduled to be heard by the committee as early as July 27.

AB 3035 by Assembly member Jim Patterson (R-Fresno), would allow law enforcement agencies to post public notices on their websites or social media.Existing law requires an officer who makes an arrest relating to dogfighting or animal abuse to lawfully take possession of the animals. If ownership of the seized animals or birds cannot be determined after reasonable efforts, the officer is authorized, after holding the animals or birds for a period of not less than 10 days, to petition a court for permission to euthanize the animals or birds. The petition is required to be published in a newspaper of general circulation. If AB 3035 becomes law, the petition would be allowed to be posted online.

The sheriffs claim that one newspaper charged $9,000 to publish the notice and they argue that local agencies strapped for revenue cannot afford to pay this cost. 

CNPA governmental affairs staff urges all members — especially those who circulate in the districts of the Public Safety Committee members — to register their opposition to AB 3035 by contacting each Senator on the committee and their Chief of Staff (COS) by email and by phone call.
Here is CNPA’s letter in opposition to AB 3035.  Your email should be substantially shorter. Talking points and contact information for the Public Safety Committee are listed below. Please copy all correspondence and email results of personal contacts to CNPA General Counsel Jim Ewert 916.288.6013 or jim@cnpa.com and direct questions to either Jim or Staff Attorney Brittney Barsotti at 916-288-6006 or   brittney@cnpa.com .

AB 3035 Talking Points

  • Shifts the delivery of public notices from a proven, reliable method of being pushed into the community by newspapers to an uncertain, experimental system which would rely on the public to identify, seek and find public notices.
  • Existing law requires a notice to be published in a newspaper of general circulation that informs the community that the owner of animals seized in an illegal animal fight is unknown and the animals are about to be destroyed.
  • The purpose of this requirement is to seek the public’s help in identifying the owner of the animals and, with its help, reunite them with their owners before they are euthanized. 
  • AB 3035 would allow the notice to be posted on a law enforcement agency website or social media. This will become the preferred method of communicating this information for these agencies and these notices, instead of being pushed into the community will be hidden from the public.
  • The notice published and distributed in newspapers deputizes the entire community – neighbors, friends, relatives, churches and community groups everyone – to ensure every reasonable effort is made to reunite the animals with their owner before they are destroyed.
  • People continue to depend on newspapers to be informed about important community events, both news and the information that is typically communicated through public notice advertisements.  It is newspapers that give public notices prominence. 
  • CNPA does not oppose language that would allow notice in other media in addition to, rather than in lieu of, newspapers of general circulation. 
  • Posting public notices online does not ensure the credibility or integrity of these notices in the same way that publication in newspapers of general circulation can.
  • The integrity and credibility of public notices to the general populace is best protected when they have the following elements:
  1. Publication is in a forum independent of the government.
  2. The published notice is archivable and secure.
  3. The notice is accessible by all segments of society.
  4. Publication is verifiable (by way of an affidavit of publication).
  • Posting the notice on a sheriff’s website alone deprives the notice of the independence that protects against tampering, alteration, and post-deadline notification. If a notice is not posted as prescribed by law, there is no independent entity to hold the sheriff accountable for failure.
  • Posting the notice on an agency website or on social media has none of the other elements of permanency, reliability, and accessibility. Once a notice is published – once ink is pressed to paper – it is secure and becomes part of the historical record of that community on that day. If the notice is posted online, it can be removed or hacked and potentially gone forever.
  • Connections fail, servers crash, links die, and web sites are hacked. We have seen the vulnerability of local agency websites and servers. The city websites in Baltimore and Atlanta were attacked a few years ago by ransomware hackers. Baltimore’s system was down for 24 hours and Atlanta’s was down for almost a week.
  • What happens if a law enforcement website is down for a period of time depriving the public of the ability to see the information immediately preceding the euthanization? Will the animals be destroyed anyway? Nothing in AB 3035 provides for what happens in the case that a website goes down or if some other disruption to public access occurs.
  • Unlike the internet or short-lived social media posts, newspapers create a permanent, unhackable and archivable record of information published, day-after-day, week-after-week and year-after-year. When a public notice is published in a newspaper, it is either permanently right or permanently wrong, but not both.
  • AB 3035 fails to take into consideration that many bird or animal owners, especially in rural areas of California may not have access or reliable access to the Internet, which would prevent the reunification of pets and owners based on economic circumstance or location. 
  • We urge you to vote “No” when AB 3035 comes before you.

Legislators on the Senate Public Safety Committee:Senator Nancy Skinner, (Chair), (D) Senate District 09  
California State Senate
State Capitol Room 5094
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-4009 senator.skinner@senate.ca.gov
Chief of Staff: Marvin Deon –  marvin.deon@sen.ca.gov

Counties:
Alameda, Contra Costa

Cities: 
Albany, Alameda, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Emeryville, Herciles, Oakland,Piedmont, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo and San Leandro

Senator John M. W. Moorlach (Vice Chair), (R) Senate District 37  
California State Senate
State Capitol Room 2048
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-4037
senator.moorlach@senate.ca.gov COS: lance.christensen@sen.ca.gov

Counties:
Orange

Cities: 
Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Newport Beach, Orange and Tustin 

Senator Steven Bradford, (D) Senate District 35  
California State Senate
State Capitol Room 2059
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-4035
senator.bradford@senate.ca.gov 

COS: sue.kateley@sen.ca.gov

Counties:Los Angeles

Cities: 
Carson, Compton, Gardena, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, South Los Angeles, San Pedro and Torrance 

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, (D) Senate District 19  
California State Senate
State Capitol Room 2032
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-4019
senator.jackson@senate.ca.gov 

COS: lisa.gardiner@sen.ca.gov

County:
Santa Barbara, Ventura 

Cities: Camarillo, Goleta, Lompoc, Ojai, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Santa Paula and Ventura

Senator Holly J. Mitchell, (D) Senate District 30  
California State Senate
State Capitol Room 5050
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-4030
senator.mitchell@senate.ca.gov

COS:  tiffani.alvidrez@sen.ca.gov

County:
Los Angeles 

Cities: 
Culver City, Los Angeles, South Los Angeles 

Senator Mike Morrell, (D) Senate District 23
California State SenateState Capitol Room 3056
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-4023
senator.morrell@senate.ca.gov

COS:  nick.calero@sen.ca.gov

Counties:
Riverside, San Bernardino

Cities: 
Banning, Beaumont, Big Bear City, Calimesa, Hemet, Highland, Loma Linda, Menifee, Phelan, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, San Bernardino, San Jacinto and Yucaipa

Senator Scott D. Wiener, (D) Senate District 11
California State Senate
State Capitol Room 5100
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-4011
senator.wiener@senate.ca.gov

COS:  krista.pfefferkorn@sen.ca.gov

Counties:
San Francisco, San Mateo

Cities: 
Daly City, Pacifica and San Francisco