CNPA Mission Statement

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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Transparency and police misconduct take center stage

This week, the Legislature is on Spring Recess, so it’s a great time to update CNPA Members on our advocacy so far.

We have recently added a Legislative Priorities page to the CNPA website, where you can stay up to date on the bills on the top of our list. We also will update the Publisher Resources page throughout the rest of the session with materials such as letters of support or opposition, fact sheets, sample op-eds, and occasionally advertisements or graphics for you to use for our priority bills.

Coming up next week:

Assembly Public Safety 4/6/21 at 1:30 p.m.

AB 268 (Irwin) Courts: sealing records: autopsy reports
Position: Opposed
This bill is a top priority for CNPA, and we are in strong opposition because it would permit family members to seal the autopsy report for a loved one who died as the victim of a crime. Autopsy records are regularly accessed public records that are critical in reporting on issues ranging from police-involved deaths to overdoses. You can call into the committee hearing next week to express your opposition when the bill is heard; the information is in the link above.

AB 603 (McCarty) Law Enforcement Settlements and Judgments
Position: Support
This bill would require municipalities to annually post online information from settlements or judgments resulting from improper police conduct, including how much is paid out and how bonds are used to finance these payments and premiums paid from insurance.

Last week, the Assembly and Senate Public Safety and Judiciary Committees held hearings on several bills:

Assembly Judiciary

AB 716 (Bennett) Court Access
Position: Support
This bill expands the public’s presumptive right to attend court proceedings, including remote access through a call-in or internet-based option. This bill also clarifies that the court is prohibited from excluding the public or media from physical access, unless it is necessary to protect the health and safety of employees or the public.This bill passed the committee by a 10-0 vote and has been sent to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
AB 35 (Chau)  Social Media Platforms: Misinformation
Position: Neutral
This bill would require social media platforms to disclose if they have a policy to address misinformation and make that policy easily accessible to users. CNPA decided to move to a neutral position after the author accepted amendments to clarify the bill is not intended to apply to news websites.Assembly Public Safety

AB 48 (Gonzalez): Law Enforcement: Kinetic Energy Projectiles and Chemical Agents
Position: Support
CNPA supports AB 48 by Assemblywoman Gonzalez to limit the use of rubber bullets and tear gas against protesters because journalists are almost always in the crowd when these tactics are used. The bill also includes a reporting requirement that law enforcement justify the use of these tactics and the injuries sustained as a result of these tactics.This bill passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee by a vote of 6-2 and is on to Appropriations.

AB 26 (Holden) Police Officers: Use of Force
Position: Support
This bill requires police officers to immediately report potential excessive uses of force, to intercede when they observe an officer is using excessive force, and protects any officer that makes such a report from retaliation. This reporting requirement would ensure more accurate information is received when making Public Records Act requests under SB 1421.

This bill passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee by a vote of 6-2 and is on to Appropriations.

AB 253 (Patterson): Animal Welfare
Position: Opposed
This bill removes the requirement that a public notice be published in a newspaper of general circulation prior to deceased animals from fighting rings being destroyed. Instead it would allow the notice to be published online on a law enforcement website or social media account or in a newspaper online or in print. If this bill passes it could impact the entire system of public notices, and CNPA is working very hard to defeat it.This bill made it out by a 5-2 vote; however, last year it passed out of the same committee by an unanimous vote.

If you have any questions, please call or email Brittney Barsotti, (916) 288-6006.