2016 Legislative Priorities Update

The California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA) identified ten legislative priorities. (1) The various bills dealt with a variety of issues, including school bullying, First Amendment rights, and drones.

On April 25th 2016, over 600 Muslims from across California gathered in Sacramento for our 5th Annual Muslim Day at the Capitol (MDAC) to advocate on four of the key bills from among our legislative priorities: AB 2845 – Safe Place to Learn Act, AB 2792 – TRUTH Act, AB 2844 – Anti-BDS bill, and SB 1286 – Police Investigation Transparency and Accountability Act.

Below is a list of the ten state bills CAIR-CA advocated for and against during this legislative cycle, along with a description and the final status of each bill.

2016 MDAC Bills

AB 2845 – Safe Place to Learn Act (Asm. Williams)
*CAIR Sponsored*
Status: Signed by Governor Brown on 9/25/16
The act aims to mandate that school districts provide school site and community resources for students who are subject to discrimination and bullying based on actual or perceived religious affiliation. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction of California would be required to publish and make available to students and their families, anti-bullying resources on its website for those who are subject to discrimination and bullying based on actual or perceived religious affiliation, nationality, race, or ethnicity.

AB 2792 TRUTH Act (Asm. Bonta)
Status: Signed by Governor Brown on 9/28/16
In an effort to rectify an absence of transparency and accountability within the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program, the Transparent Review of Unjust Transfers and Holds (TRUTH) Act was created to allow public oversight through community forums and access to ICE records through California’s Public Records Act (CPRA) requests. Local law enforcement assisting ICE would be required to provide a written consent form to detained individuals explaining their rights during the ICE interview process. They would also be required to notify the detained individual’s attorney of the individual’s anticipated release date.

AB 2844 – Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (Asm. Bloom)
Status: AB 2844- Signed by Governor Brown on 9/24/16
California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act and Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibit discrimination of an individual in public places and in the course of his/her employment. AB 2844 requires any person who submits a bid or proposal to the state, or proposes to enter into or renew a contract worth more than $100,000 with the state, to comply with California’s anti-discrimination laws. To be in compliance, the person must attest that they have not adopted any policies against any sovereign nation or peoples as recognized by the United States government, specifically the state or people of Israel. Before submitting a bid or proposing a contract with the state, the person must certify, under penalty of perjury, that no such boycott policies are in place.

SB 1286 Police Investigation Transparency and Accountability (Sen. Leno)
Status: Died in the Senate Appropriations Committee
SB 1286 will (1) allow public access to investigations, findings, and disciplinary information on serious uses of force by police, (2) allow public access to information on police misconduct, (3) affirm an individual’s right to be able to track his/her misconduct complaints and monitor what the police department is doing about it, (4) allow local governments that choose to establish civilian review boards or appeal boards for officer disciplinary proceedings to have those boards hold open public hearings, and (5) give power back to civilian oversight bodies to effectively monitor police.(2)

Additional 2016 Legislative Priorities

SB 1015 – Domestic Worker Bill of Rights (Sen. Leyva)
Status: Signed by Governor Brown on 9/12/16
The Domestic Worker Bill of Rights of 2013 regulated the hours of work of domestic work employees who work as personal attendants, and it provided an overtime compensation rate for those employees. The existing law would have repealed The Domestic Worker Bill of Rights as of January 1, 2017. SB 1015 will cancel the repeal date, thereby safeguarding the protections and benefits guaranteed by the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights.

SB 1242 – Strengthening Family Connections (Sen. Lara)
Status: Signed by Governor Brown on 9/28/16
Due to a difference of one day between federal and state statutes, federal immigration law treats a California misdemeanor as if it were a felony, since a California misdemeanor has a possible maximum sentence of 365 days. For this reason, just one misdemeanor conviction, even one where no jail time was imposed, can cause an immigrant to lose lawful status and be deported. SB 1242 will limit the maximum sentence for a misdemeanor to 364 days on a retroactive basis to ensure that legal residents of the United States who have committed low-level misdemeanors are not deported due to one day differential treatment.

AB 2590 Restorative Justice Act (Asm. Weber)
Status: Signed by Governor Brown 9/28/16
This bill would make legislative findings that the purpose of sentencing is public safety which can be achieved through accountability, rehabilitation, and restorative justice. It would also encourage the department to allow all inmates the opportunity to enroll in programs that promote a successful return to the community.

AB 2466 Voting Rights Clarification (Sen. Weber)
Status: Signed by Governor Brown on 9/28/16
AB 2466 would amend the Elections Code, ensuring that more than 50,000 people under mandatory and post-release community supervision can vote. AB 2466 also clarifies that a term in county jail does not strip people of their right to vote. AB 2466 creates consistent language in our Elections Code regarding who can and cannot vote with a criminal conviction. It ensures that individuals sentenced under the Criminal Justice Realignment Act retain their right to vote, clarifies that a juvenile adjudication does not affect the right to vote, and specifies the information courts send to election officials so that no eligible voter is mistakenly denied his/her right to vote.(3)

SJR 21 Anti-Refugee Bill (Sen. Huff)
Status: Died in the Senate Rules Committee
This measure sought to urge Congress and the President to support the principles within the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act of 2015, effectively creating additional barriers in the screening process for Iraqi and Syrian refugees.

AB 1820 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Asm. Quirk)
Status: Died in the Senate Judiciary Committee
This bill would prohibit law enforcement agencies from utilizing unmanned aircraft systems, obtaining unmanned aircraft systems from another agency, or using information from another agency’s unmanned aircraft system, except as permitted by this bill. The exceptions provided by the bill, include requiring that the agency operates in its own jurisdiction, complies with specified requirements, and develops a policy on the use of unmanned aircraft systems that meets specified requirements and complies with all applicable federal, state, and local laws. AB 1820 would further prohibit the surveillance of private property by an unmanned aircraft system unless a warrant is obtained, permission is granted, or in the case of exigent circumstances, and it would require that any footage or data obtained be destroyed within one year.

(1) (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2016, from https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/
(2) SB-1286. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2016, from https://www.aclusandiego.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/SB-1286.pdf
(3) Voting Rights Clarification (AB 2466). (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2016, from https://www.aclunc.org/our-work/legislation/voting-rights-clarification-ab-2466