Dear Partnership Members,
As you know, the budget recently passed by the legislature included the full $20.6 million is shelter funding. While this is extremely good news, we are very concerned that one of the budget trailer bills, AB 76, removes several existing mandates related to law enforcement's response to domestic violence.
The mandates relaxed through the trailer bill eliminate requirements on law enforcement agencies to:
- Maintain a complete record of the domestic violence protective orders in its jurisdiction;
- Adopt written policies and standards for officers' responses to domestic violence calls; and
- Track the number of domestic violence calls they receive and report that number to the California Department of Justice.
These state mandates have been in place for decades, and in fact the state reimbursement to local law enforcement agencies for associated costs has been suspended for the past 20 years. From our conversations with key legislative offices and stakeholders, it is our understanding that the decision to relax the mandates was made within the context of the 20-year reimbursement suspension and not with intent to negatively impact law enforcement response.
Nevertheless, we believe that the inclusion of the statutory requirements is a fundamental element of our state's criminal justice response to domestic violence, and that removing these mandates could have serious negative implications for the safety of victims. We have submitted a letter to the Governor's office and encourage you to use this as a template if you would like to also submit a letter urging the Governor to retain the mandates in statute. You can fax your letter to (916) 558-3160.
In addition to our voices, several crime victim advocacy organizations and District Attorneys have expressed their concerns to the Governor and key legislators. The Partnership will continue advocating for the inclusion of these mandates and for a strong criminal justice response to these issues.