2018 Legislative Package

All bills endorsed and supported by the CLBC meet the objective of the caucus: Social, Economic, and Educational Justice.

 

Priority Bills


Assembly Bill 931: Police Accountability and Community Protection Act

Assembly Member Shirley Weber and Assembly Member Kevin McCarty

There is growing recognition among policing experts that the current law authorizing police officers to use deadly force does not protect against unnecessary loss of life. AB 931 will change that standard to authorize deadly force only when it is necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury.

The power of police officers to use deadly force is perhaps the most significant responsibility we give to any public official, and must be guided by the goal of safeguarding human life. But current law results in officers killing civilians far more often than is necessary, leaving many families and communities devastated and the general public less safe. These tragedies disproportionately impact communities of color: Studies show police kill unarmed young black men at more than twenty times the rate they kill young white men.

California’s law governing when a homicide by an officer is “justified” was written in 1872, and not only fails to include best practices but authorizes deadly force that would violate the U.S. constitution.

Police kill more people in California than in any other state. In 2017, officers shot and killed 162 people in California, only half of whom were armed with guns, and killed more than 20 others using other types of force. Of the 15 police departments with the highest per capita rates of police killings in the nation, five are in California: Bakersfield, Stockton, Long Beach, Santa Ana and San Bernardino. Police in Kern County have killed more people per capita than in any other US county.

Last year, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) shot more than three times as many people as the New York Police Department, even though LAPD has only one-fourth as many officers. The last time a police officer in Los Angeles faced criminal charges for a shooting while on duty was in 2000; the shooting was not fatal and the officer pleaded no contest.

Some police departments in California have recognized that they need to hold themselves to a higher standard, updating their use-of-force policies to adopt best practices like requiring de-escalation when possible, using force that is proportional to the law enforcement objective, and grounding their policies on the importance of human life. Studies show that officers in departments that have adopted such policies kill fewer people and are less likely to be killed or assaulted in the line of duty.

Under current law, police can use deadly force whenever an “objectively reasonable” officer would have done so under the same circumstances – regardless of whether there was an immediate threat to life or bodily security, or whether there were available alternatives. This standard provides legal cover for killings that can be reasonably justified under the law, but were not necessary.

AB 931 authorizes police officers to use deadly force only when it is necessary to prevent imminent and serious bodily injury or death – that is, if, given the totality of the circumstances, there was no reasonable alternative to using deadly force, including warnings, verbal persuasion, or other nonlethal methods of resolution or de-escalation.

This bill also establishes that a homicide by a peace officer is not justified if the officer’s gross negligence contributed to making the force “necessary.”

If AB 931 becomes law, police departments can discipline or fire officers who use deadly force that is unnecessary, and in some cases the local District Attorney could file criminal charges.

 

Senate Bill 982: CalWORKs - Ending Childhood Deep Poverty

Senator Holly J. Mitchell

SB 982 will endeavor to end childhood deep poverty in the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program by setting a floor for grants at 50 percent of the federal poverty line.

Growing up in deep poverty impairs children’s ability to learn, develop and thrive. Decades of research reveal the negative impacts of poverty on children’s health, educational achievement, and adult success. “Deep poverty” is defined as living in a family with an income below 50 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Children in deep poverty suffer the worst outcomes. Deep poverty causes toxic stress that harms brain development and early functioning, disrupting a child’s ability to succeed in school and in life. Even a short amount of time spent in deep poverty can derail a child emotionally, psychologically, physically, and educationally for a much longer time period.

Chronically unmet basic needs experienced by children living in deep poverty not only impact their health and well-being, but also their future potential. Children who live in deep poverty are less likely to graduate high school, more likely to have poor health as children and as adults, and more likely to become involved in the criminal justice system. Deep poverty damages the chance that a child will ever escape poverty and fuels an intergenerational cycle of poverty. Children who are born in deep poverty are three times as likely to be deeply poor at age 40 than children not born in deep poverty.

The CalWORKs program provides basic needs cash aid and services to low-income families with children to alleviate the impact of poverty on children and help parents overcome barriers to employment. The CalWORKs program serves 1.1 million individuals in California, 80 percent of whom are children. Yet, the level of support provided to CalWORKs families is insufficient to meet basic needs and lift all of these children out of deep poverty. The current maximum grant for a family of three is $714 or 41 percent of FPL. However, most families receive less than the maximum grant: the average CalWORKs grant for a family of three is $556 per month, or 33 percent of FPL.

SB 982 will endeavor to eliminate deep poverty in the CalWORKs program by placing a minimum grant level to ensure no CalWORKs grant falls below 50 percent of the federal poverty line. By doing so, this bill will protect children from the worst harms of chronically unmet basic needs and better enable the CalWORKs program to achieve its goals.

 

Assembly Bill 2635: Local Control Funding Formula: Lowest Performing Subgroup

Assembly Member Shirley Weber

AB 2635 will create a new supplemental grant category in the local control funding formula for the lowest performing subgroup of students not currently receiving a supplemental grant.

The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) was enacted in 2013. The LCFF was designed to be a more equitable system of funding, with the goal of providing additional funding for the highest needs students. Base grants, concentration grants and supplemental grants were created to provide additional funding and accountability to school districts and charter schools to provide extra support for high needs students. These subgroups of students include English Language Learners, low-income students, and foster/homeless youth.

Statewide 2017 testing data shows that African American students are the lowest performing subgroup with only 31% meeting English Language Arts (ELA) Standards and only 19% meeting Math Standards. The statewide average for all students was 49% meeting ELA and 38% Math Standards. This is not a new phenomenon as African American performance has been low for decades. There are 350,000 African American students in California, yet only 260,000 receive supplement funding under LCFF because they are low income or homeless or foster youth. As such, 90,000 African American students or 26% are not receiving additional supplemental funding through the LCFF.

African American students have the highest suspension rate of any subgroup at 9.8% compared to 3.7% Latino and 3.2% Caucasian. In addition, they have the lowest high school graduation rate of 72.9% compared to 80.5% Latino, 88.9% white and 93.7% Asian. These students are not being given enough academic support. The equitable goals of the formula are not being met.

Existing law, the Local Control Funding Formula, generates a base grant of funding per student. The LCFF generates additional supplemental grant funds per student if they are low-income, English Language Learners, or a foster/homeless youth. These supplemental grant funds come with additional accountability required for each of these subgroups within each school district and charter school’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP).

Seeks to add a new supplemental grant category in the LCFF to include the lowest performing subgroup of students statewide (currently African American students). This would ensure that every African American student within the state is generating additional supplemental funding to provide resources to increase their academic performance (approximately 90,000 African American students currently are not generating funding). This would additionally ensure that school districts and charter schools throughout the state are being held accountable to provide additional services and improve academic performance among African American students.

 

Assembly Bill 2918: Police Stop Rights in Driver’s Handbook

Assembly Member Chris Holden

Assembly Bill 2918 would require the Department of Motor Vehicles to include in the California Driver’s Handbook information regarding a person’s civil rights during a traffic stop.

Traffic stops are a daily occurrence for police officers on the beat, but for the casual driver, being pulled over is rare and infrequent. From the sound of the siren to hearing the orders of the officer from the PA system, it can jolt a driver and cause unintended stress that can put both the driver and the officer on edge. Safety is most important in handling these instances and staying informed of the driver’s right can help alleviate this stress and avoid any escalations caused by being on edge.

Studies show that people of color in California are most affected by traffic stops. In Not Just a Ferguson Problem, the authors note: “From the first time the siren sounds at a traffic stop, enforcement is often discriminatory: data from several localities shows that police disproportionately make traffic stops of people of color, particularly African Americans.”  Exacerbating this issue is the vast amount of information available to an individual that may or may not be correct. The Driver’s Handbook includes suggestions on how to conduct one’s self during a stop, but stops short of stating the rights of the driver and what to do if the situation is escalating. Being informed of these rights are critical in situations that can quickly go from calm to worse.

States across the country are following California’s lead in including suggestions on what conduct is recommended during a traffic stop. California should remain proactive in informing the public of their rights and protecting the rights of all involved in a traffic stop. 

In order to inform the driving population of their rights in one trusted place, AB 2918 would direct the Department of Motor Vehicles to provide information regarding a person’s civil rights during a traffic stop in the Driver’s Handbook.

The information shall address the extent and limitations of a peace officer’s authority during a traffic stop, the legal rights of drivers and passengers, and details on the process for filing complaints against a peace officer. This information will be developed by the DMV after consulting with stakeholders in public safety and civil justice.


Budget Priorities

Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF)

$330M (ongoing, Prop 98) to adjust the definition of “unduplicated pupils” to include pupils who are included in the lowest performing subgroup(s). This would ensure that every African American student within the state is generating additional supplemental funding and ensure that each school district and charter school throughout the state is held accountable to provide additional services and improve academic performance of African American students.

 

Department of Justice (DOJ)

$9.9M (ongoing) to establish an independent review unit within the Department of Justice to investigate officer-involved shootings. This would allow California to follow the lead of other states and create a better and more transparent system for officer-involved shootings that is fair to police, families, and the community.

 

California African American Museum (CAAM)

$6.7M (one-time) for deferred maintenance; and $325,000 (ongoing) for an increase in staff headcount. Over the past 2 years, CAAM's attendance, notoriety, and visibility have dramatically increased due to changes in exhibition and education programming, outreach efforts, and re-branding.

 

UCLA/Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies

$3.5M (ongoing) to develop new research projects including public safety by collecting, mapping and analyzing law enforcement data from at least seven additional counties: San Diego, Alameda, Kern, San Bernardino, Contra Costa, Sacramento and Riverside. The Bunche Center is doing widely impactful research and including communities who are often overlooked and underrepresented in Big Data.

 

California State University, Dominguez Hills

$700,000 (one-time) for the Mervyn M. Dymally African American Political and Economic Institute to achieve its mission as a non-partisan public policy center focused on issues affecting the well-being of African-American communities locally, regionally and nationally.


Endorsed Bills

  • AB-2289 Weber: Pupil Rights: Pregnant and Parenting Pupils
  • AB-2550 Weber: CA Dignity Act
  • AB-1940 McCarty: Parole: Reintegration Credits
  • AB-1488 Thurmond: County Juvenile Transition Centers
  • AB-1916 Cooper: Civil Service: Personnel Classification Plan: Salary Equalization
  • AB-3046 Gipson: Foster care: rights
  • AB-3115 Gipson: Prisoners: Civic Education
  • AB-1892 Jones-Sawyer: CalFresh
  • AB-3039 Holden: Health care facilities: criminal background checks.
  • AB-2747 Holden: Student Athletes Bill of Rights: student athlete liaisons: collegiate athlete mandated reporters.
  • AB-2444 Burke: Pupil Health: Eye and Vision Health
  • ACR-177 Jones-Sawyer: Intergenerational Trauma: Epigenetics
  • SB-439 Mitchell: Jurisdiction of Juvenile Court