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To protect and serve the common interests of its newsmedia members, to help members inform and thereby strengthen their communities, and to foster the highest ideals, ethics and traditions of journalism, a free press and the news profession.

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Legislation Update: What Happened This Week

Legislation Update: What Happened This Week

Position: Support
This bill would make every incident involving the use of force to make a member of the public comply with an officer, force that is unreasonable, or excessive force subject to disclosure and require records relating to sustained findings of unlawful arrests and unlawful searches to be subject to disclosure. The bill would, commencing July 1, 2022, also require the disclosure of records relating to an incident in which a sustained finding was made by any law enforcement agency or oversight agency that a peace officer or custodial officer engaged in conduct involving prejudice or discrimination on the basis of specified protected classes.
SB 16 would require the retention of all complaints and related reports or findings currently in the possession of a department or agency. The bill would require that records relating to an incident in which an officer resigned before an investigation is completed to also be subject to release. For purposes of releasing records, the bill would prohibit assertion of the attorney-client privilege to limit the disclosure of factual information provided by the public entity to its attorney, factual information discovered by any investigation done by the public entity’s attorney, or billing records related to the work done by the attorney. 
The bill would require records subject to disclosure to be provided at the earliest possible time and no later than 45 days from the date of a request for their disclosure, except as specified. The bill would impose a civil fine not to exceed $1,000 per day for each day beyond 30 days that records subject to disclosure are not disclosed. The bill would entitle a member of the public who successfully files suit for the release of records to twice the party’s reasonable costs and attorney’s fees. This bill would expand the authorization to delay the release of records during an investigation to include records of incidents involving sexual assault and dishonesty by officers, and the records of incidents involving prejudice or discrimination, wrongful arrests, and wrongful searches that are required to be made public by this bill. This bill would require each department or agency to request and review that file prior to hiring a peace officer. The bill would also require every person employed as a peace officer to immediately report all uses of force by the officer to the officer’s department or agency.
Next Step: Senate Appropriations 
Position: Support
CNPA supports AB 718 by Assembly Member Cunningham that would require a law enforcement agency or oversight agency to complete its investigation into an allegation of the use of force resulting in death or great bodily injury, sexual assault, discharge of a firearm, or dishonesty relating to the reporting, investigation, or prosecution of a crime or misconduct by another peace officer or custodial officer, despite the peace officer’s or custodial officer’s voluntary separation from the employing agency.
AB 718 is taking a narrower approach to the issues we’ve seen after the passage of SB 1421, regarding officers resigning or retiring to prevent an investigation from being completed. We are actively supporting SB 16 (Skinner), which will close this loophole and further expand access to police misconduct records but are also supportive of AB 718.
This bill passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee by a vote of 8-0.
Position: Watch
This bill would declare that, notwithstanding any law, a social media platform, as defined, shall be considered a limited public traditional First Amendment forum for those purposes, as specified. The bill would require a social media platform located in California to develop a policy or mechanism to address content or communications that constitute unprotected speech, including obscenity, incitement of imminent lawless action, and true threats, or that purport to state factual information that is demonstrably false.
In light of the unprecedented and problematic nature of declaring social media platforms to be a traditional public forum, as well as the fact that the bill would likely be preempted by federal law, the Judiciary Committee recommended that the author delete the provision declaring a social media platform to be a traditional First Amendment forum, as described in Robins v. PruneYard Shopping Center (1979) 23 Cal.3d 899, but keep the provision of the bill that requires social media platforms to adopt a policy or mechanism for addressing unprotected speech and demonstrably false content.
This bill made it out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee by a vote of 7-3, with the author Assemblymember Gallagher voting against his own bill as a result of the committee’s amendments. 
Next Step: Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, & Internet Media, but given the author was opposed to the amendments, he may not try and move the bill forward. 
Position: Support
AB 731, which requires the sheriff in each county to compile and submit specified data to the Board of State and Community Corrections on their anti-recidivism programs and success rates in reducing recidivism—when a convicted criminal reoffends, passed on April 13, 2021. The bill requires the board to compile a report based upon those findings and submit the report to the Legislature, which will be available to the public so that reporters can better cover criminal justice issues.
This bill passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee by a vote of 7-0.
Position: Watch
AB 490, which additionally prohibits a law enforcement agency from authorizing techniques or transport methods that involve a substantial risk of positional asphyxia, passed on April 13, 2021. CNPA flagged this item as the trial of Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd continues because the bill seeks to prevent similar events from happening in the future.
The bill passed Assembly Public Safety by a vote of 6-2. 
Preview of Next Week:
Position: Opposed
This bill, which requires the Court—when requested by a family member—to seal the autopsy report and evidence associated with a victim who has been killed due to a criminal act, essentially, any homicide, was passed by the Assembly Public Safety Committee. This bill is being sponsored by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors and is in direct response to autopsy report requests for the victims of the Borderline Mass Shooting and is seeking to prevent those reports from ever being accessed by the public. 
Next Step: Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee Hearing Thursday, April 22 at 10:30 a.m. 
Action: Click here to watch the hearing on Thursday and access information to call in your opposition when the bill is up.  
Position: Opposed 
AB 390 would, beginning July 1, 2022, make it unlawful for the business to fail to provide a consumer with a notice containing specified information if the consumer accepted a free gift or trial lasting 31 or more days that was included in an automatic renewal offer or continuous service offer or accepted an automatic renewal offer or continuous service offer at a promotional or discounted price, and the applicability of that price was more than 31 days. In these circumstances, the bill would require the notice to be provided at least 3 days before and at most 21 days before the expiration of the period of time for which the free gift or trial, or promotional or discounted price, applies. CNPA is working with a coalition to oppose this bill. 
Next Step: Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee Hearing Thursday, April 22 at 10:30 a.m.
Position: Support
AB 343 would establish, within the California State Auditor’s Office, the California Public Records Act Ombudsperson. The bill would require the California State Auditor to appoint the ombudsperson—an appointed government official who receives and investigates complaints made by individuals against abuses or capricious acts of public officials—subject to certain requirements.
This bill would require the ombudsperson to receive and investigate requests for review whether the denials of original requests complied with the California Public Records Act, and issue written opinions of its determination, as provided. AB 343 would also require the ombudsperson to create a process to that effect, and would authorize a member of the public to submit a request for review to the ombudsperson consistent with that process.
The bill made it out of the Assembly Accountability and Administrative Review by a vote of 7-0. 
Next Step: Assembly Judiciary Committee Tuesday, April 20th at 9 a.m.