Capitol Alert AM Newsletter

Use-of-force bill hits a snag + Newsom negotiates on housing + DMV audit hearing

Happy Hump Day! Who’s ready for the budget deal?

But first...


Senate Bill 230 and Assembly Bill 392 were once competing measures that both aimed to reform police use of deadly force. The Senate version was backed by law enforcement, the Assembly proposal was championed by civil rights groups.

After months of collaboration, a compromise effort emerged. Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, earned the support of legislative leaders and Gov. Gavin Newsom, and her proposal to allow officers to employ deadly force when “necessary” is likely to become law.

State Sen. Anna Caballero, D-Salinas, amended her measure to support Weber’s. SB 230 would enforce AB 392 by requiring departments to train officers and update their policies.

“SB 230 really is an opportunity for us to make a major investment in our police forces and require that the guidelines and the responsibilities and rights they have to follow are adequately funded and that are set out in statute,” Caballero said during an Assembly Public Safety Committee hearing on Tuesday.

But the American Civil Liberties Union still opposes the Senate bill. Peter Bibring, the organization’s police practices director, said the bill’s language “retains some serious problems that undermine the reforms sought by AB 392.”

One of the issues boils down to a single word.

Bibring testified against the definition of “feasible” as defined in SB 230.

“This bill would require each law enforcement agency to maintain a policy that provides guidelines on the use of force, utilizing deescalation techniques and other alternatives to force when feasible,” the bill reads.

The current language defines feasible as: “reasonable capable of being done or carried out under the circumstances to successfully achieve the arrest or lawful objective without increasing risk to the officer or another person.”

Yes, officers have to expose themselves to risk, Bibring said. But that does not mean “refraining from shooting is not feasible.” Thus, the language should underscore the expectation that officers will use deescalation tactics in dangerous situations.

The ACLU wants to see the bill amended to mean an action that does not require “unreasonably increasing risk to the officer or others.”

SB 230 was passed to Assembly Appropriations on a 6-0 vote.


Gov. Gavin Newsom faces a Thursday deadline to sign the state budget bill, but he says he wants lawmakers to finalize their plans to divide up homeless funding and agree on a plan to punish cities that don’t meet their housing goals before he takes action.

Newsom has threatened to withhold money for roads starting in 2023 if communities don’t plan to build enough affordable housing. He wants to use money raised from the state’s gas tax, sometimes called SB1 funds after the 2017 law that increased fuel taxes.

But that plan has met resistance from some Democratic lawmakers. They argue they made commitments to voters in 2017 that the increased gas tax would fund road repairs in their communities and that pulling the funding would be unfair.

Newsom said he’s “not wedded” to that specific plan, but that he wants some sort of punishment for cities that aren’t meeting their goals.

“If cities aren’t interested in doing their part, if they’re going to thumb their nose at the state and not fulfill their obligations under the law, they need to be held accountable,” he said at a Tuesday news conference. “That’s an outstanding issue and I’m looking forward to getting closure on it in the next 48 hours.

Lawmakers and Newsom have already agreed to spend $650 million on homeless aid, but haven’t announced an agreement on how to divide up the money.

Newsom had proposed $275 million for the state’s 13 biggest cities, $275 million on counties and $100 million on regional agencies called continuums of care. But he said he trusts Senate and Assembly to decide the final amounts.

Sacramento would be among the cities that would benefit from the $275 million Newsom has proposed for them. Mayor Darrell Steinberg said he’s been advocating in the Legislature for Newsom’s proposed funding.

“We are confident that it’s a great investment,” he said. “The big cities are right at the epicenter of the homeless crisis.”

Via Sophia Bollag


The Joint Legislative Audit Committee is expected to vote today on a request to look into the DMV’s Motor Voter program and the REAL ID rollout.

If approved by the combined chamber committee members, California State Auditor Elaine Howle will be asked to review the following:

  1. Oversight of voter information

  2. The California Department of Technology’s role in testing the Motor Voter program

  3. Whether the DMV needs the additional funding and staff it’s asked for

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in room 126.

For your radar — Bookmark this fun site for some weekend perusing. State Controller Betty T. Yee published the 2018 payroll data for government positions on Tuesday. The data include $50 billion in wages for 705,0003 positions across 54 counties and 467 cities. Oh to be a physician in San Joaquin County.

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