Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Police conduct in spotlight at California Capitol

Protesters rally outside the Capitol in Sacramento to support a bill that would require more data on police stops on Sept. 2, 2015.
Protesters rally outside the Capitol in Sacramento to support a bill that would require more data on police stops on Sept. 2, 2015. The Sacramento Bee

With police killings igniting national outrage and the Black Lives Matter movement shaping the presidential race, policing tactics continue to offer fodder for California lawmakers.

Today the American Civil Liberties Union and Sacramento’s Black Lives Matter chapter will be rallying on the south steps at 11:30 a.m. for a couple of ACLU priority bills aimed at law enforcement. One would give the public greater access to records about police misconduct or use of force, building on a transparency push that last year produced a barricade of Gov. Jerry Brown’s office in support of a law requiring more data on stops.

The other measure deals with civil asset forfeiture, a process by which law enforcement can confiscate suspects’ property. While cops call it an effective way to attack drug traffickers and other sprawling criminal enterprises, civil libertarians warn it is being abused to pad police budgets (a fantastic but long primer here). Senate Bill 443, which would place some new limits on the practice, fell far short last year amid law enforcement opposition. Author Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, is on the rally agenda.

Those are the two policing bills the ACLU is highlighting, but there are several others in the pipeline dealing with public access to body-worn camera footage, how officers use those cameras, and when people go into gang databases.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Washington state’s pot czar offers some advice for California.

LEAVING: Gov. Jerry Brown has not always backed legislative efforts to bolster family leave, but today he’ll be signing legislation boosting the value of benefits under the state’s paid family leave and disability insurance programs. The paid leave program currently sets benefits at 55 percent of your prior wages – that would rise to 60 or 70 percent, depending on what you were making. Brown will put pen to paper on Assembly Bill 908 during a noon presser in his office.

727: That’s the number of troops from Californians who have died since Sept. 11, 2001. A new exhibition at the California Museum will honor them with photos and personal stories. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and a handful of legislators will be on hand at 1020 O Street at 11 a.m. to mark the exhibit’s launch.

SHE SHADOWS: Continuing its push to recruit more women to run for office, the organization Emerge California is having 45 aspiring politicians trail state lawmakers today. While a recent report found that women are making inroads, they still lag far behind their share of the population (i.e. half-ish) when it comes to holding public office. Women hold about a quarter of the seats in the 120-member Legislature.

GODLINESS: Specialty license plates are a never-ending source of bills (like Snoopy and/or museums? The Legislature has you covered!). Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, is getting in on the action with legislation to create “In God We Trust” plates, carrying on the crusade of a Bakersfield city council member determined to spread the phrase. Assembly Bill 2253 is scheduled to go up in the Assembly Transportation Committee today at 2:30 p.m.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert

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