Capitol Alert

How will Jerry Brown act on sexual assault, juvenile confinement bills?

Gov. Jerry Brown talks to reporters as he walks to the Capitol. Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif.
Gov. Jerry Brown talks to reporters as he walks to the Capitol. Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. AP

Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed legislation granting legal protections to Californians who smash car windows to rescue sweltering animals.

But coming up on his Sept. 30 deadline to act on hundreds of bills sent to him by the Legislature, Brown has yet to sign or veto several higher profile public safety measures.

Here are three we’re watching:

Assembly Bill 2888 (Assemblymen Evan Low, D-Campbell, and Bill Dodd, D-Napa): Mandates prison sentences for certain sex crimes in which the victim was unconscious or incapable of giving consent due to intoxication.

Analysis: The bill is fallout from a nationally watched sexual assault case involving a former Stanford University swimmer who received a six-month jail sentence after penetrating an unconscious woman. Assembly Bill 2888 was supported in the Legislature even by some liberal Democrats who typically support reducing criminal penalties.

Senate Bill 1182 (Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Manteca): Makes it a felony to possess date-rape drugs with the intent to commit a sexual assault.

Analysis: Brown vetoed a similar bill last year, but his reason for doing so was broader than any one piece of legislation. In a veto message accompanying nine criminal justice measures last year, Brown complained about the size of California’s criminal code and criticized “the multiplication and particularization of criminal behavior creates increasing complexity without commensurate benefit.” He wrote, “Before we keep going down this road, I think we should pause and reflect on how our system of criminal justice could be made more human, more just and more cost-effective.” Brown now has a criminal justice measure of his own on the November ballot, and rape cases have drawn an increasing amount of public attention in the last year.

Senate Bill 1143 (Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco): Restricts the use of room confinement for juvenile inmates.

Analysis: The bill passed the Legislature without opposition, with proponents arguing that extended room confinement prevents juvenile offenders from accessing classroom and rehabilitative programs. Brown has often spoken about his desire to improve efforts to rehabilitate inmates.

David Siders: 916-321-1215, @davidsiders

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