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An Elk Grove lawmaker is reviving a 2015 effort to give law enforcement back powers to collect DNA evidence for crimes reclassified as misdemeanors under Proposition 47, approved by voters in 2014.
Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, today is expected to announce the re-introduction of a bill to allow police to collect DNA from people convicted of crimes previously classified as felonies, including low-level drug offenses, theft and forgery.
Assembly Bill 16 comes two years after a previous attempt by Cooper to fix what he has characterized as “unintended consequences” of Proposition 47, which law enforcement critics warned would make it harder to solve crimes. Cooper’s past attempt failed in the Senate Public Safety committee in 2015.
California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 47, granting more lenient sentences for those convicted of crimes such as theft and drug possession and reducing those crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, removing law enforcement agencies’ ability in some cases to take the genetic information of suspects arrested for felonies. Cooper’s bill would not affect people who have only been arrested, and it would apply exclusively to crimes whose sentences were affected by Proposition 47. It would leave sentencing rules intact.
“DNA evidence is an essential tool for law enforcement to convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent,” Cooper said in a statement. “It is indisputable that lesser public offenses of fraud, property crime and drug possession are linked to the more serious violent crimes of rape and murder. Bottom-line – AB 16 will help protect women, solve cold cases and protect the innocent.”
The news conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. in Room 127 of the Capitol.
FULL STEAM AHEAD: Officials with the California High Speed Rail Authority will testify about the state’s progress on high-speed rail at an oversight hearing set for 1:30 p.m. in Room 4203 of the Capitol. Dan Richard, the agency’s chairman, is expected to speak, as well as CEO Jeff Morales and other public transit agency officials.
A 2017 report to the Legislature says the agency “has made tremendous progress in building the nation’s first high-speed rail system.” It has spent $2.3 billion to date on an initial 119-mile segment in the San Joaquin Valley that agency officials say will connect the Central Valley and Silicon Valley by 2025.
VETERANS: Experts are delivering a report to the Senate Veterans Affairs committee on challenges veterans face when returning from war, including post-traumatic stress and job placement. The oversight hearing is at 1:30 p.m. in Room 2040 of the Capitol.
TRUMP-RUSSIA TIES: State Sen. Scott Wiener is expected to introduce a Senate resolution with 17 other senators calling on Congress to demand President Donald Trump release his tax returns and conduct a “full, independent” investigation of “any and all connections between the Trump administration, the Trump campaign organization and the Trump business empire and the Russian government, as well as Russian government-owned enterprises and related business interests.”
“A bipartisan, independent commission and special prosecutor appointed by the bipartisan commission is needed to investigate the full extent of Russia’s influence on the Trump White House and the United States elections,” the resolution reads. “President Trump must release his tax returns in order to demonstrate he is free from potentially harmful conflicts of interests related to the Russian government and American foreign policy interests or economic policy prerogatives.”
The Senate Judiciary committee is expected to take up the nonbinding resolution at 1:30 p.m. in Room 112 of the Capitol.
BILL WATCH: Committee hearings are in full swing. The Assembly Public Safety committee takes up a proposed bill from Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, that would prohibit school authorities from allowing people to possess fire arms in school zones. The committee meets at 9 a.m. in Room 126 of the Capitol.
Also at 9 a.m., the Assembly Judiciary committee meets in room 447 and takes up a bill from Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, that seeks to provide legal services for veterans who have been deported. The committee will also weigh in on a proposed bill from Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, that would bolster protections for whistleblowers. The Senate committee on Natural Resources and Water meets in Room 112 at 9:30 a.m. and will take up a bill from state Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, that would help promote direct sales of sustainable seafood by California fisheries.
WORTH REPEATING: “The CBO report makes it crystal clear that this harebrained scheme to repeal Obamacare is a really dumb idea and will cause millions of Americans to suffer.” – Gov. Jerry Brown on Congressional Budget Office analysis released Monday on impact of House Republicans’ Obamacare repeal and replace proposal called the American Health Care Act.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: A belated birthday to Colusa Brown, California’s First Dog. “Lucy” turned two on Monday.