As the Governor concluded his signing or vetoes of bills on his desk this past weekend, there were a total of nine CALCASA – supported bills submitted to the Governor for his review. Of these nine bills, Governor Jerry Brown signed eight bills into law and vetoed one. “We are pleased with the California Legislature and the Governor’s commitment this year to pass key legislation to provide support to survivors of sexual violence,” said Sandra Henriquez, CALCASA’s Executive Director. She added, “ We look forward to their continued support for CALCASA’s legislative priorities in 2014.” Here are the CALCASA- supported bills that Governor Brown signed this session:
- SB59 (Evans) – Closing Loophole in Sexual Assault Penal Codes to include Fraud and Impersonation of Someone Known to the Survivor (current law only addresses Impersonation of Spouses): Under an 1870’s provision that upheld the rights of a married victim, but not those of others, the 2nd District Court of Appeal in January overturned the rape conviction of Julio Morales. In 2009, Morales impersonated his female victim’s boyfriend in order to have sex with her while she was sleeping. Because jury instruction was unclear and the current law only allows someone to be convicted of rape for impersonating a spouse, but is silent about the impersonation of other intimate partners, the conviction was overturned on the technicality. This new law updates the arcane language contained in various sections of the California Penal Code by substituting and defining the new term of “someone known to the victim other than the accused” in the place of the term “spouse”. Doing so, this law expands the definition to include single individuals, domestic partners and individuals currently excluded by the narrow use of the term “spouse”. Signed by the Governor on 09/09/13.
- SB107 (Corbett) – VAWA Forensic Compliance to Remove the Sunset Date: SB 107 authorizes state agencies’ use of federal grant monies to reimburse local law enforcement for the costs incurred in administering “rape kits” to victims of sexual assault. Under VAWA, California Office of Emergency Services received approximately $12 million from the federal government last year. Signed by the Governor on 08/26/13.
- SB130 (Corbett) – Expanding Support Persons for Prosecution Witnesses to include sex crimes: SB 130 expands the list of criminal charges in the Penal Code for which a prosecuting witness may have a support person present while testifying. The motivation behind SB 130 is to ensure that, whenever a victim testifies in court, he or she receives necessary support during their testimony in court. Extending support for witnesses validates the day-to-day needs of sexual assault survivors participating in the criminal justice system. Signed by Governor on 06/28/13.
- SB145 (Pavley) – Possession of Child Porn: Currently, California has the weakest child pornography sentencing laws in the nation. This new law increases the maximum penalty for the most serious child pornography offenses. Signed by the Governor on 10/12/13.
- SB400 (Jackson) – Employment rights for Sexual Assault survivors: SB 400 would prevent employers from firing or discriminating against an employee who has been a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. This new law also requires employers to make reasonable efforts to protect these victims at their workplace from their abuser or stalker, such as changing their work telephone number, relocating their desk, or implementing a workplace safety plan. Signed by the Governor on 10/11/13.
- SB651 (Pavley) – Forensic Exams and Reporting Requirements for Sexual Assault in Developmental Centers and State Hospitals: This new law requires victims of suspected abuse in state centers for the developmentally disabled and state hospitals to receive exams from trained forensic examiners at independent facilities. Independent exams may be performed at state facilities, if it is safer for the survivor. Signed by the Governor on 10/10/13.
- AB307 (Campos) – Expansion of Protective Orders: AB 307 allows criminal courts to issue restraining orders protecting sexual assault victims from their assailants. This new law strengthens the protections for victims of sexual assault by enabling a criminal court to issue a stay-away order enforceable for up to ten years following a conviction of a felony sexual assault crime. Prior to the enactment of this law, a sexual assault victim could only obtain this type of stay-away order by going to a civil court to request the restraining order. Now, the prosecutor in the sexual assault case has the ability to seek and obtain the protective order on behalf of a victim. Signed by Governor on 09/09/13.
- AB602 (Yamada) – Training Requirements for Law Enforcement at State Developmental Centers: AB 602 requires employees at California’s Developmental Centers to report serious assault and abuse incidents directly to outside law enforcement agencies within two hours. Currently, those reports are only made internally within two days and reporting to outside law enforcement is not mandatory. To facilitate investigations at the State’s Developmental Centers and State Hospitals, which provide care for the state’s most seriously disabled residents, this new law will also require local law enforcement to participate in specialized training for interacting with these resident populations. Signed by Governor on 10/09/13.
Below is a CALCASA-sponsored bill that Governor Brown vetoed:
- SB131 (Beall) on Extending Statute of Limitations for Child Sexual Abuse Civil Cases: This bill was sponsored by the National Crime Victim’s Center as part of a national effort to extend or eliminate statute of limitations for child sexual assault civil cases. The bill would allow a small group of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse an opportunity to gain justice against the institutions that enabled their abusers. The bill addresses a gap in the law that has prevented victims from seeking restitution under SB 1779, which became law in 2003 and expanded the statute of limitations for victims to file claims against third parties who knew their employees were a danger to children but still allowed them to work with kids. SB 1779 was passed unanimously in the Assembly and Senate. Vetoed by the Governor on 10/12/13.
We’d like to thank our members and partners in supporting our legislative efforts this year. Additionally, we look forward to your continued support in 2014! For more information, please contact Ellen Yin-Wycoff at 916-446-2520, Ext. 321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.