BILLS TO WATCH
State SB 16 (Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley): Would mostly expand public disclosability of police-conduct/misconduct records. Current status: Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled 3/23/21.
State SB 98 (Mike McGuire, D-north coast): Would require that law enforcement officers allow journalists to enter closed areas and would prohibit officers from assaulting or otherwise preventing journalists from doing their work. Current status: Appropriations Committee hearing scheduled 3/22/21. Guild President Derek Moore reports that the Santa Rosa Press Democrat has endorsed the bill.
State SB 274 (Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont): Would strengthen California’s open-meeting law, the Ralph M. Brown Act, by requiring local agencies with websites to email copies of or website links to meeting agendas or all documents in agenda packets upon request by members of the public. Current status: Governance and Finance Committee hearing scheduled 3/25/21.
State AB 339 (Alex Lee, D-Milpitas, and Cristina Garcia, D-Downey): Would require that all public meetings include opportunity for all persons to attend via call-in or internet-based service option; that all meetings provide public with opportunity to comment on proposed legislation; and that translation services be provided for the 10 most-spoken foreign languages in California, with speaking-time limits doubled for persons speaking in foreign language to allow time for translation. Current status: No hearing scheduled.
Oakland “Reimagining public safety”: City Council has established task force “to rapidly reimagine and reconstruct the public safety system in Oakland by developing a recommendation for Council consideration to increase community safety through alternative responses to calls for assistance, and investments in programs that address the root causes of violence and crime (such as health services, housing, jobs, etc), with a goal of a 50% reduction in the OPD General Purpose Fund (GFP) budget allocation.” Among the task force’s recommendations is to train police officers to respect First Amendment rights of the press. Thanks to Leg/Pol Committee member Paul Burton for monitoring this.
*Richard Knee, chair, Gloria La Riva, Paul Burton