A quick and exciting update on policy priorities for the 2021 legislative year
As many of you may know, a committee was formed to do a statewide Penal Code Review starting in January, 2020. In the past year, the committee issued 10 nonadministrative memos on over 50 hours of public Committee hearings including testimony from 57 expert witnesses, public comment, and staff research. The full report will be coming in January but in the meantime, I wanted to share the 10 major recommendations the Committee has made (shared in a letter by Chair Michael Romano to the Governor and Legislature on Dec. 10). These items will be in focus in 2021, and can serve as a priority list for us to pay attention to.
1. Reduce punishment, fines, and fees for driving without a license and driving on a license suspended for failure to pay a fine or appear in court.
2. Require that short prison sentences are served in county jail and ensure that time served in county jail does not exceed 5 years.
3. End mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenses.
4. Expand misdemeanor theft to include offenses that do not involve weapons or serious injuries.
5. Provide guidance for when judges should dismiss sentence enhancements.
6. Focus gang enhancements on the most dangerous, violent, and coordinated criminal activities and ensure that evidence of gang involvement does not unfairly prejudice juries.
7. Apply repealed sentence enhancements retroactively.
8. Equalize custody credits for people who committed the same offenses regardless of where or when they are incarcerated.
9. Clarify parole suitability standard to focus on risk of future violent or serious criminal conduct.
10. Establish judicial process for resentencing requests by law enforcement and permit people who have been incarcerated for 15 years to request resentencing in the interest of justice.
LA County Policy Update: Restructuring the Public Safety Realignment Team (PSRT)
In December, LARRP cofounders Troy Vaughn and Lynne Lyman worked with Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis on their motion to restructure and reimagine the Public Safety Realignment Team (PSRT), which is the statutory body that oversees AB109 implementation (AB109 was the 2011 CA law that shifted non-serious, non-violent, and non-sexual felonies to be served in county jail and probation as opposed to state prison and parole).
Many forget that LARRP was founded in 2011 to respond to AB 109. When we heard our folks would be held in local jails or released on Probation, and possibly given more alternatives to incarceration locally, we realized we needed to rally together our reentry community to be ready to better serve our loved ones coming home. For the past 9 years LARRP has worked to help the County implement AB 109, identified gaps in services, called for split sentencing, and opposed flash incarceration. We launched the 50% campaign in 2014 calling for a full 50% of the AB109 budget to go to services. Our executive director, Troy Vaughn, has held the only community seat on the PSRT for these 9 years, and we had to fight to get him voting rights in the first year.
On December 8th, several LARRP Steering Committee members gave public comment in favor of the motion which passed unanimously. The motion added new County offices like ODR and ATI to the expanded oversight body, along with service providers, advocates, and directly impacted people. Further, the motion directs the expanded body to rewrite and revise the AB 109 implementation plan to reflect the County’s collective priorities on alternatives to incarceration, diversion programs, substance abuse programs, mental health treatment, housing, restorative justice programs, and community-based services. The new body will go on to make funding recommendations for the over $300 million per year that the County receives for AB109.
While the County is moving to align all of its justice sector programming with the “care first, jail last” approach, it is important that Angelinos sentenced to the lowest level felonies under AB 109 not be left behind. We thank Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis for taking on the important work of ensuring our AB 109 population is better served by a robust and more representative PSRT.
LARRP 2020 California State Legislative Summary
In 2020, the LARRP Policy and Legal Committee reviewed over 50 state bills and prioritized 13 for immediate action, which included letters of opposition/support sent to bill authors and Los Angeles delegation members, phone calls, social media targeting and network
The summary and analysis reflect the relative success and ongoing progress of this legislation in focus, as well as potential missed opportunities and areas for further exploration in 2021 and beyond. Please see the summary chart at the end of this document
for more details on the bills that are referenced in the analysis. To see the full legislative tracker, click here to view.
November 3, 2020 Election Justice Ballot Measures
Presentation by Lynne Lyman
LARRP Co-Founder, Executive Steering Committee
2020 Priority Legislation
Editorial: A strange and chaotic — and meh — year for California lawmaking
LA Times By The Times Editorial Board, Sep. 3, 2020
A good round-up on the close of session
SB 378 (Wiener) Probation Alternatives for Drug Offenses
- Submit your support letter for as soon as possible. CLICK for sample support letter
- Please be sure to put on your letterhead, Sign, and Upload to the California Legislative Portal
- Share a signed copy of your letter with Glenn Backes at email@example.com and Norma Palacios firstname.lastname@example.org.
SB 369 (Hertzberg) California Reentry Commission
LARRP’s Policy Priorities in 2020
AB 362 (Eggman) Controlled substances: overdose prevention program
This bill allows the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco the discretion to authorize overdose prevention programs where adults may use controlled substances under supervision of staff trained to prevent and treat overdose, prevent HIV and hepatitis infection, and facilitate entry into drug treatment and other services. This law would be repealed January 1, 2026.
- Spon/Supp - Drug Policy Alliance, Harm Reduction Coalition, HealthRight 360, Tarzana Treatment Center, ACLU of California, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights Homeless Healthcare Los Angeles, LSPC
- Location: House - Senate | Committee - Sen Health
- Status: 06/26/20 From committee chair, with author's amendments: Amend, and re-refer to committee. Read second time, amended, and re-referred to Com. on HEALTH.
AB 1196 (Gibson) Peace officers: use of force
This bill would prohibit a law enforcement agency from authorizing the use of a carotid restraint or a choke hold, as defined.
- House location: Senate – Committee Location: Sen Rules
- Status: 06/18/20 From committee chair, with author's amendments: Amend, and re-refer to committee. Read second time, amended, and re-referred to Com. on RLS.
AB 1950 (Kamlager) Probation: Length of terms
This bill provides a court may not impose a term of probation longer than two years for a felony conviction and one year for a misdemeanor conviction.
- Spon/Supp - ACLU of Nor/SoCal, SD & Imperial Counties; Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, CALI PD Association, Smart Justice California, Cali Attorneys for Criminal Justice
- House location: Senate – Committee Location: /
- Status: 6/16/20 In Senate. Read first time. To Com. on RLS. for assignment.
AB 2077 (Ting) HIV & Hepatitis Prevention
To stem the spread of HIV and viral hepatitis, AB 2077 will remove a sunset from an existing law allowing pharmacies to sell and adults to possess sterile syringes for personal use without a prescription.
- Spon/Supp - DPA (Co-Spon), Health Officers Association of Cali, SF AIDS Foundation, ACLU
- House Location: Assembly – Committee Location: /
- Status: 06/23/20 Referred to Com. on HEALTH.
AB 2147 (Reyes) Conservation Camps – Expungement
Creates a process for people who served as firefighters while in prison to expunge their convictions and obtain jobs
- Spon/Supp - ARC, CSJ, Ella Baker, Initiate Justice, Smart Justice California
- House Location: Senate – Committee Location: /
- Status: 06/16/20 In Senate. Read first time. To Com. on RLS. for assignment.
AB 2342 (McCarthy) Parole: reintegration credits
This bill will allow people on parole to earn credits, similar to Proposition 57. By incentivizing people on parole to continue their rehabilitation through education, self-help programs, volunteering, and staying disciplinary-free, we are promoting public safety through their success.
- Spon/Supp – Californians for Safety & Justice
- House Location: Senate | Committee Location: /
- Status: 06/16/20 In Senate. Read first time. To Com. on RLS. for assignment.
AB 2978 (Ting) Retroactive Automatic Expungement for Certain Qualified Misdemeanors & Felonies
This bill will allow individuals with an eligible conviction dating back to 1973 to have their record automatically cleared when a person has fully completed the terms of their sentence. This proposal builds upon AB 1076, which Ting authored and was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019; automatic records clearance, however, applies only to new cases beginning next year and beyond. AB 2978 seeks retroactivity.
- Spon/Supp – Californians for Safety & Justice (Spon)
- House Location: Assembly | Committee Location: Assembly Public Safety
- Status: 3/17/20 In committee: Hearing postponed by committee.
AB 3070 (Webber) Anti-Discrimination Jury Selection Act
This bill would prohibit a party from using a peremptory challenge to remove a prospective juror on the basis of the prospective juror’s race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, or religious affiliation. The bill would allow a party to object to the use of a peremptory challenge to raise the issue of improper bias based on these criteria. This bill will create a specific process for addressing racial bias in jury selection.
- Spon/Supp – California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (Spon.), California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (Spon.), California Public Defenders Association, ACLU California, AAAJ-CA, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Equal Justice USE, Initiate Justice
- House Location: Senate | Committee Location: /
- Status: 06/11/20 In Senate. Read first time. To Com. on RLS. for assignment.
ACA 6 (McCarthy) Elections: disqualification of electors
This bill would direct the Legislature to provide for the disqualification of electors who are serving a state or federal prison sentence for the conviction of a felony. This measure would also delete the requirement that the Legislature provide for the disqualification of electors while on parole for the conviction of a felony. The measure would provide for the restoration of voting rights upon completion of the prison term.
- Spon/Supp - All of Us or None (Co-Spon) (prior version), ACLU of California (co-Spon), ARC (Co-Spon), CURB (co-Spon), Initiate Justice (co-Spon), League of Women Voters of California (co-Spon), Legal Services for Prisoners w/ Children (co-Spon), Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, CSJ, CoCo, Fair Chance Project, Project Rebound Cal State Fullerton, Root & Rebound
- House Location: Secretary of State | Committee Location: /
- Status: 06/25/20 Chaptered by Secretary of State - Res. Chapter 24, Statutes of 2020.
SB 855 (Wiener) Health coverage: mental health or substance abuse disorders.
The bill repeals California’s mental health parity law, and instead requires every health plan contract and disability insurance policies that provides hospital, medical, or surgical coverage issued, amended, or renewed on or after January 1, 2021 to provide coverage for medically necessary treatment of mental health and substance use disorders under the same terms and conditions applied to other medical conditions, as specified.
- Spon/Supp - Steinberg Institute (Co-Spon), The Kennedy Forum (Co-Spon), DPA, NAMI
- House Location: Senate | Committee Location: /
- Status: 06/25/20 In Assembly. Read first time. Held at Desk.
The Policy Committee mission is to develop and advocate for the implementation of legislative and administrative policies that reduce recidivism, advance social justice, safeguard the rights of victims, and decrease incarceration levels while providing accountability to taxpayers and reducing structural inequalities. This committee is reconstituting and holds its first meeting January 7th and is still seeking co-chairs.
The Policy & Legal Committee has three primary functions.
- Organize and host free Record Change Clinics
- Host quarterly forums or workshops that further develop policy and advocacy skills
- Develop and advocate for the implementation of legislative and administrative policies that reduce recidivism, improve public safety and social justice, safeguard the rights of victims, and decrease incarceration levels while providing accountability to taxpayers, protecting against cost liability, and reducing structural inequalities.
LARRP Policy Priorities
Committee Charter: To develop and advocate for the implementation of legislative and administrative policies that reduce recidivism, improve public safety and social justice, safeguard the rights of victims, and decrease incarceration levels while providing accountability to taxpayers, protecting against costly liability, and reducing structural inequalities.
- Remove Barriers to Reentry
- Reduce Incarceration Rates and Eliminate Discrimination in the Justice System
- Develop a Robust Community ReentrySystem
Among the many critical legislative wins, were restoring the right to people with felony convictions to serve on a jury (SB310), banning new private prison contracts (AB32), reducing mandatory minimums (AB484), repealing certain sentencing enhancements (SB136), and an automated record clearance system for individuals arrested or convicted after January 1, 2021 (AB1076). You can read a good overview of the many bills here.
Criminal Justice Reforms are Winning in Sacramento
2019 was a banner year for getting criminal justice reform bills passed and signed into law in California’s state capitol. Legislators from San Diego to Los Angeles to Sacramento championed critical bills to reduce police misconduct, reduce recidivism, increase core services and improve life outcomes for the justice involved population. And Governor Gavin Newsom signed the vast majority of them into law, including over two dozen last week.
3 LARRP Priority Bills Signed by the Governor This Week
October 11, 2019
Every year, the Policy and Legal Committee researches state legislation that impacts the reentry community, and the LARRP Steering Committee selects the top 10-15 priorities that LARRP actively supports or opposes. This year LARRP has been tracking and sending letters on 10 bills that encompass different issues in the reentry space. Within our 10 priority bills we wanted to report out on 3 that were signed into law this week.
This 3 bills that were signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom, address record clearing relief, time served credits, sentencing enhancements and the burden of the collateral consequences a person faces once their time is done. Please see below for a description of each bill that was signed this week.
Disposition of LARRP’s 2019 Priority Bills as of June 1, 2019
Red = Bill Died
Green = Chaptered by Governor
AB 53 (Jones-Sawyer) Rental housing discrimination: applications: criminal records - This bill will ensure that property owners may not discriminate against formerly incarcerated individuals on the initial rental housing application, 04/24/19 In committee: Set, first hearing.
AB 277 (McCarthy) Parole: community reintegration credits - This bill would create a program under which the length of a parolee’s period of parole would be reduced through the successful completion of specified education, training, or treatment programs, or by participating in volunteer service, while adhering to the conditions of parole, 05/16/19 In committee: Held under submission.
AB 646 (McCarthy) Elections: voter eligibility - This bill would remove those prohibitions, thereby allowing a parolee to preregister, register, and vote, 05/16/19 Asm-Committee Process-Appropriations.
AB 965 (Stone) Youth offender and elderly parole hearings: credits – This bill would apply credits earned by a person while in the custody of Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to reduce specified time limitations related to a person’s youth offender parole hearing or elderly parole hearing, 05/24/19 In Senate. Read first time. To Com. On RLS.
AB 972 (Bonta) Prop 47: resentencing – This bill would establish a process for courts to automatically redesignate as misdemeanors, felony convictions which are eligible to be reduced to misdemeanors because of the passage of Proposition 47 (2014), 05/16/19 In Committee: Held under submission. Assembly-In Committee Process-Appropriations.
AB 1076 (Ting) Criminal records: automatic relief – This bill would require the Department of Justice (DOJ), as of January 1, 2021, to review its criminal justice databases on a weekly basis, identify persons who are eligible for relief by having either their arrest records or conviction records withheld from disclosure, with specified exceptions, and requires the DOJ to grant that relief to the eligible person without a petition or motion to being filed on the person’s behalf, 05/20/19 Read second time. Ordered to third reading.
SB 136 (Wiener) Repealing unnecessary & common one-year sentence enhancements - This bill would repeal commonly used one-year sentence enhancement that is added to each prior prison or felony jail term that an individual has served, 04/23/19 Read second time. Ordered to third reading.
SB 144 (Mitchell) Criminal fees - This bill will end the assessment and collection of administrative fees imposed against people in the criminal justice system, and expunge all previously assessed related debt, 05/21/19 Read second time and amended. Senate-In Floor Process-Third Reading.
SB 575 (Bradford) Second chances Cal Grant - This bill would delete provisions that prohibit a student who is incarcerated from being eligible to receive a Cal Grant award thereby extending eligibility to incarcerated persons to the same extent as the general population, 05/22/19 In Assembly. Read first time. Held at desk.
SB 716 (Mitchell) Juveniles: postsecondary & career technical education - This bill requires criminal justice agencies and colleges to ensure that youths with a high school diploma or GED who are detained in, or committed to a facility have access to a full array of postsecondary academic and career technical education programs of their choice, 05/24/19 In Assembly. Read first time. Held at desk.
2018 - Final Legislative Update on LARRP Supported Bills
We are happy to share that 50% of the state bills that LARRP supported in this session were signed into law by the Governor. Please see our summary in the link below. You can find more detail about any of these bills by going to Leg Info.
Anyone interested in helping develop, track, and support bills for 2019, please write to email@example.com with "Policy Committee" in the subject line.
Click Below for a fuller list of Bills signed or vetoed by Governor Brown
LA County will automatically clear up to 100,000 Prop 64 criminal records! Service may be extended to some Prop 47 cases. And no one left in LA County jail on a Prop 64 conviction!
SB 439 Becomes Law, Ending the Prosecution of Children Under 12
Governor Brown signs landmark legislation to remove barriers to licensing and decrease recidivism
Sacramento, CA—This past weekend, Governor Edmund "Jerry" Brown signed AB 2138, authored by Assemblymembers David Chiu and Evan Low, to remove barriers for occupational licensing for close to 8 million Californians living with criminal records.
AB 2138 was supported by a coalition of 50+ organizations, including East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC), Root & Rebound, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC), All of Us or None, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Alameda County Public Defender, PolicyLink, the Alliance for Boys & Men of Color, the National Association of Social Workers, and many more.
AB 2138 opens pathways to family-sustaining careers to millions of Californians who have past justice system contact. The bill ensures that close to 40 licensing boards governed under the Department of Consumer Affairs cannot deny people otherwise trained and qualified for licenses due to irrelevant and dismissed convictions. Specifically, the bill creates a seven-year "washout" period after which licensing agencies cannot consider crimes that are not serious felonies, sex offenses, or relevant financial crimes. It also eliminates requirements that applicants self-disclose the details of their record prior to issuance of a California Department of Justice background check, freeing applicants from disclosing from memory alone and refocusing agencies on the facts of an applicant's record. AB 2138 also sets out criteria for considering an applicant's rehabilitation and bans the use of dismissed and sealed convictions, convictions for which a person received a Certificate of Rehabilitation, and non-conviction acts such as arrests that never led to conviction to deny licensure.
Studies have shown that states with more fair processes for occupational licensing have dramatically lower recidivism rates.
Many Californians are denied licenses to work in jobs they are qualified to perform due to old or irrelevant criminal records. In some cases, people are denied licenses for jobs they have performed successfully for years in the past without incident or were trained to do while incarcerated, simply because of a conviction for a minor offense unrelated to their job.
With AB 2138, Californians with criminal records will be able to access licenses for close to 40 occupations they were previously barred from or very unlikely to receive. Covered occupations range from automotive repair to psychology to cosmetology.
The signing of AB 2138 is a huge victory for all Californians.
2018 State Budget
On June 27, 2018 Governor Brown signed and enacted the 2018-19 state budget of over $200 Billion. See the public safety spending summary below. The LARRP Policy and Legal Committee has prepared a brief of the key budget items for the reentry community available to members only.
LARRP Signs Onto Important Jail Diversion Motion
On August 14, the Board of Supervisors passed a motion by Supervisors Ridley-Thomas and Barger directing the Department of Health Services (DHS) to work with appropriate partners to conduct a study of the existing County jail population to identify who would likely be eligible for diversion and reentry programs based on their clinical conditions and current criminal charges. The study must be rigorous and scientific and is intended to help guide the County’s strategy for creating and scaling community-based diversion and reentry programs for those with serious clinical conditions. It is LARRP's hope that this study will provide key insights that could reduce the need for building multiple new jails, and even recommend an alternative to LA County Jail continuing to serve as the largest mental health institution in the country.
LARRP was happy to co-sign on to a letter of support organized by the ACLU of SoCal, signed by over 20 justice organizations. The letter contains critical legal analysis and history
‘Keep California Safe’ initiative fails to make the November 2018 ballot
By SAL RODRIGUEZ |OPINION | Orange County Register
July 2, 2018
he much-hyped Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2018 has failed to make the November 2018 ballot.