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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

AB 268 (Irwin) Courts: sealing records: autopsy reports
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 (No hearing date set)

SB 324 (Limon) Unsolicited commercial mail advertisements
Position: Opposed

This bill would have placed onerous restrictions on any advertisement sent through the mail and required an opt-out option for consumers who received any mail advertisements. Based on our analysis the bill would have applied to our members that distribute publications through the mail and would be particularly problematic for those who utilize USPS Every Door Direct Mailing services.

This bill was set to be heard on Monday, April 5, but was pulled from the calendar by the author. It is unlikely to be heard or move forward this year.

Preview of Next Week:

AB 718 (Cunningham) Peace officers: Investigations of misconduct
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.

Next Step: Set for Hearing in Assembly Public Safety at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 13

AB 731 (Bauer-Kahan) County jails: recidivism: reports
Position: Support

CNPA supports this bill that would require 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. The bill would require 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.

Next Step: Set for hearing in Assembly Public Safety at 1:30 pm. Tuesday, April 13

AB 490 (Gipson) Law enforcement agency policies: arrests: positional asphyxia
Position: Watch

AB 490 would additionally prohibit a law enforcement agency from authorizing techniques or transport methods that involve a substantial risk of positional asphyxia. CNPA is watching this bill and wanted to flag 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.

Next Step: Set for hearing in Assembly Public Safety at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 13

AB 343 (Fong) California Public Records Act Ombudsperson
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.

Next Steps: CNPA General Counsel Brittney Barsotti will testify in support of the bill in the Committee on Accountability and Administrative Review at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 14

Public Safety Committee Hearings

Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee Hearings