Legislation

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces New Law Enforcement Reporting Requirements for Citizen Complaints Against Peace Officers

December 31, 2015
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

LOS ANGELES - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued an information bulletin to California law enforcement agencies outlining new responsibilities under state law to track and report citizen complaints against peace officers, including complaints alleging racial or identity profiling.

Under the new law, AB 953 (Weber), California law enforcement agencies must begin collecting additional citizen complaint data starting on January 1, 2016.  An annual report of data must be submitted to the California Department of Justice beginning January 1, 2017, and will be made available to the public and disaggregated for each individual law enforcement agency.

“Racial and identity profiling undermine public trust and have debilitating effects on communities. Tracking and reporting citizen complaints will create accountability for law enforcement agencies engaged in these ineffective practices and help move us toward more fair and impartial policing in California,” said Attorney General Harris.

"This will go a long way toward providing a data-driven understanding of the problem. Then we can see the patterns of racial profiling. Where is it concentrated? What neighborhoods? Who is targeted? What communities have low numbers of these incidents? Can we find best policing practices for improving race relations in other communities? That's how effective policy is made," said Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber (D-San Diego).

Law enforcement agencies must collect and annually report to the California Department of Justice complaints against peace and custodial officers, including those alleging criminal conduct of a felony or misdemeanor, non-criminal complaints, and complaints alleging racial or identity profiling.  Police and Sheriff’s departments will be required to parse out from the total number of complaints, the number of complaints made from inmates admitted to a local detention facility. For complaints involving racial or identity profiling, law enforcement agencies will further have to collect and report the specific type(s) of profiling alleged: based on race and ethnicity, nationality, age, religion, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, mental disability, or physical disability.  In addition to providing the total number of complaints reported, law enforcement agencies must also report the status and/or resolution of the complaint: sustained, exonerated, not sustained, unfounded, or pending.  The DOJ will receive the first updated reports from law enforcement agencies beginning in 2017.

The California Department of Justice is making a new form available to law enforcement agencies for capturing and reporting this expanded set of complaints submitted by civilians.  The information bulletin and the new reporting form are available on the California Department of Justice website: www.oag.ca.gov/law.

In the bulletin, Attorney General Harris also reminded law enforcement agencies of their responsibilities to establish a procedure to investigate complaints by members of the public against sworn officers, and make those procedures available to the public.

Since January 2015, Attorney General Harris has taken several steps to strengthen the trust between law enforcement and California communities.  These actions include:

  • Directing the Department of Justice’s Division of Law Enforcement to conduct a 90-Day Review of its special agent trainings on implicit bias and use of force.
  • Initiating a body camera pilot program for DOJ special agents.
  • Convening law enforcement, youth, and community organizations to facilitate discourse about the best ways to cultivate trust and positive relationships.
  • Creating the 21st Century Policing Working Group to foster discussion regarding implicit bias and building community trust, and to share best practices.
  • Launching OpenJustice, a first-of-its-kind criminal justice open data initiative that is releasing unprecedented information with a focus on being interactive and highlighting data stories.  
  • Training police executives from 29 different law enforcement agencies in a Principled Policing Course, a POST Certified Training on Implicit Bias and Procedural Justice.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces New Law Enforcement Reporting Requirements for Officer-Involved Shootings and Use of Force

December 28, 2015
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

LOS ANGELES - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued an information bulletin to California law enforcement agencies outlining new responsibilities under state law to report incidents involving shootings or any use of force that results in serious bodily injury or death of a civilian or a peace officer.

AB 71 (Rodriguez), which was supported by Attorney General Harris, requires all California law enforcement agencies starting January 1, 2016 to begin collecting data on incidents involving the shooting of a civilian by a peace officer, the shooting of a peace officer by a civilian, as well as data on incidents involving use of force by a civilian/peace officer against the other that result in serious bodily injury or death.  An annual report of data must be submitted to the California Department of Justice beginning January 1, 2017.

“As a career prosecutor, I have always known one central truth: the public and law enforcement need each other to keep our communities safe.  I am proud to implement landmark legislation requiring reporting from law enforcement agencies to the California Department of Justice on shooting and use of force incidents,” said Attorney General Harris.  “California is leading the nation in promoting accountability through open data, which will strengthen trust between law enforcement and the communities that we are sworn to protect.”

As a part of the bulletin, the Attorney General distributed a use of force incident template to inform law enforcement agencies and officers of the required data fields that must be submitted to the Department of Justice.  This template was created with input from stakeholders including Assemblymember Rodriguez’ office, California law enforcement associations, state and local law enforcement agencies, and advocacy groups.  The template and its accompanying instructions are also available on the California Law Enforcement Web and on the California Department of Justice website: http://oag.ca.gov/law.

In order to make reporting less cumbersome for officers, the Department of Justice will be working with select law enforcement agencies to develop and field test a web-based data collection system that will allow law enforcement to track and submit use of force data electronically.  Once user tested and accepted, all law enforcement agencies will be able to track data internally as well as report data electronically utilizing this system.  This new web-based collection system will dramatically improve the quality and efficiency of data collection by the Department. 

In 2017, use of force data collected by the Department of Justice under the new law will also be published on the Attorney General’s OpenJustice Dashboard and Data Portal, which was launched in September 2015.  OpenJustice is a first-of-its-kind criminal justice open data initiative that releases unprecedented data and provides user-friendly visualization tools.  The Dashboard spotlights key metrics and embraces transparency in the criminal justice system to strengthen trust, enhance government accountability, and inform public policy.  Attorney General Harris began by releasing data on: (1) Deaths in Custody, (2) Arrest Rates and (3) Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted

Since January 2015, Attorney General Harris has taken several steps to strengthen the trust between law enforcement and California communities.  These actions include:

  • Directing the Department of Justice’s Division of Law Enforcement to conduct a 90-Day Review of its special agent trainings on implicit bias and use of force.
  • Initiating a body camera pilot program for  DOJ special agents.
  • Convening law enforcement, youth, and community organizations to facilitate discourse about the best ways to cultivate trust and positive relationships.
  • Creating the 21st Century Policing Working Group to foster discussion regarding implicit bias and building community trust, and to share best practices.
  • Launching OpenJustice, a first-of-its-kind criminal justice open data initiative that is releasing unprecedented information with a focus on being interactive and highlighting data stories.  
  • Training Police Executives from 29 different law enforcement agencies in a Principled Policing Course, a POST Certified Training on Implicit Bias and Procedural Justice.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Urges U.S. Senate to Oppose Immigration Legislation Undermining Public Safety and Community Trust

October 19, 2015
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

LOS ANGELES - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today sent a letter to United States Senators opposing S. 2146, the Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act, legislation proposed by Senator David Vitter (R- Louisiana), which would potentially withhold federal funding from California law enforcement agencies who comply with the state Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tool Act (TRUST Act). 

In the letter, Attorney General Harris expresses concerns over this effort to undermine the delicate balance struck in California to protect public safety and strengthen the relationship of trust between law enforcement and communities. 

“I strongly believe that serious and violent criminals—whether undocumented or not—should be held accountable for their crimes.  But when local law enforcement officials are seen as de facto immigration agents, it erodes the trust between our peace officers and the communities we are sworn to serve,” Attorney General Harris stated in the letter.  “Criminal justice policy should not be conflated with national immigration policy.”

In June 2014, Attorney General Harris sent a bulletin to law enforcement agencies in California, outlining their responsibilities and potential liability for complying with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) federal detainer requests for undocumented immigrants.

The letter makes clear that California local law enforcement agencies are always able to notify ICE about serious criminals or those who pose a threat to public safety or national security.  The TRUST Act allows local law enforcement to notify ICE about serious criminals, while requiring that local agencies analyze public safety risks posed by an individual, including a review of the arrest offense and criminal history, before deciding whether to devote local resources to hold an undocumented immigrant on behalf of the federal government. 

The letter to the Senate is attached to the online version of this release at www.oag.ca.gov/news.

The law enforcement bulletin is available online here: http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/law_enforcement/14-01_le_info_bulletin.pdf.

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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Issues Statement on Governor Brown Signing Reproductive FACT Act into Law

October 9, 2015
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris released the following statement today, following Governor Jerry Brown’s signing of AB 775, the Reproductive FACT Act:

“I am proud to have co-sponsored the Reproductive FACT Act, which ensures that all women have equal access to comprehensive reproductive health care services, and that they have the facts they need to make informed decisions about their health and their lives.  I commend Governor Brown for signing AB 775 and thank Assemblymembers David Chiu and Autumn Burke for championing this important law.”

Governor Signs Second Bill in Attorney General Kamala D. Harris’s Cyber Exploitation Legislative Package

October 8, 2015
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

LOS ANGELES - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued a statement in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s signature of Assembly Bill 1310 (Gatto, D-Glendale), one of two cyber exploitation bills sponsored by Attorney General Harris.

“This new law gives law enforcement important tools necessary to hold cyber exploitation perpetrators accountable and bring justice to victims,” said Attorney General Harris. “AB 1310 furthers the ability of law enforcement to gather evidence and prosecute these heinous cases. I thank Assemblymember Gatto for authoring this critical measure.”

AB 1310 amends current law by allowing search warrants to be issued for cyber exploitation crimes, giving law enforcement the ability to search electronic databases and retrieve the victims’ images.  AB 1310 also allows for the prosecution of cyber exploitation cases in the county where the victim resides or in the county where the images were posted.  Since posters and website operators commonly reside outside of the victim’s jurisdiction, this change in the law will relieve some of the burden placed on the victim during the prosecution of the case. 

“With this legislation, law enforcement will be able to more effectively investigate and prosecute cyber exploitation criminals across multiple jurisdictions,” said Assemblymember Gatto.  “I applaud the Attorney General for championing this measure and thank Governor Brown for signing it into law.”

This year, Attorney General Harris sponsored two bills to enhance the prosecution of cyber exploitation in the state.  Senate Bill 676 (Cannella, R-Ceres), signed by the governor last month, enables law enforcement to seek the forfeiture and destruction of cyber exploitation images. 

On October 14, the Attorney General’s Cyber Exploitation Working Group will announce its findings and unveil new resources for victims, law enforcement, and tech companies in the fight against cyber exploitation.  This new initiative represents the culmination of a 9 month-long collaboration on four key areas: developing industry best practices, education and prevention, law enforcement training and collaboration, as well as legislation and advocacy.  The working group includes major technology companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo!, Google, and Instagram.

Attorney General Harris created the eCrime Unit in 2011 to identify and prosecute identity theft crimes, cybercrimes, and other crimes involving the use of technology. The California Department of Justice is leading the nation in prosecuting these crimes, having garnered the first successful prosecution of a cyber exploitation operator in the country. In 2015, Kevin Bollaert was sentenced to eight years imprisonment followed by ten years of supervised release for his operation of a cyber exploitation website that allowed the anonymous, public posting of intimate photos accompanied by personal identifying information of individuals without their consent.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, 37 Attorneys General Join in Support of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015

September 29, 2015
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

LOS ANGELES - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and 37 other state attorneys general today sent a letter to Congress in support of proposed legislation, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 (S.524/H.R.953), to increase prevention and treatment of heroin and opioid abuse. 

“Drug addiction hurts individual lives, families and communities, posing serious risks to public safety and public health,” said Attorney General Kamala D. Harris.  “Being smart on crime requires a comprehensive response to addiction, including data-driven prevention, education and drug treatment programs.”

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act will create new evidence-based treatment and intervention programs, increase resources available to first responders and law enforcement to reverse overdoses and save lives, and create more disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications.

The proposed federal legislation would also strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services.  The California Department of Justice recently launched a 2.0 version of California’s prescription drug database, Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES), which features a variety of performance improvements and added functionality.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury-related death for Americans aged 25 to 64.

A copy of the letter from 38 attorneys general, including Attorney General Harris, is attached to the online version of this release at www.oag.ca.gov/news.

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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Proposed Changes to Proposition 65 Regulations to Reduce Abuses and Increase Accountability

Attorney General Harris Invites Public Input During 45-Day Comment Period
September 28, 2015
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SAN FRANCISCO - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced changes to regulations implementing Proposition 65, the landmark law requiring businesses to provide warnings if they expose individuals to any listed carcinogens or reproductive toxins.    

The proposed amended regulations are the product of nearly five years of analysis and have been drafted in consultation with business and environmental groups.  They are intended to protect public health and the environment while helping to stem abuse of the law’s mechanism to allow for enforcement by private parties.  The amendments mark the first substantial change to the Attorney General’s Proposition 65 regulations since their adoption in 2001-2003. The 45-day public comment period is open until November 9.

“California has led the nation for decades in protecting our residents and the environment from pollutants and toxic chemicals,” said Attorney General Harris.  “These proposed changes maintain the intent of Proposition 65 and our vital legacy of public health and environmental protections while eliminating incentives to abuse the system.  Good public policy means rejecting the false choice that suggests we must sacrifice our commitment to the environment and public health for California businesses to thrive.”

In 1986, California voters approved the initiative to address their growing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals. These regulatory changes will help restore public confidence that Proposition 65 is used for its proper health-protective purposes and not abused for private gain.  The proposed amendments focus on increased transparency and accountability to ensure that civil penalties in litigation brought by private enforcers under Proposition 65 are used for purposes that are clearly defined, relevant to the violations which prompted the settlement, and beneficial to Californians. 

The proposed regulations would also increase accountability by capping “in lieu of penalties” payments to ensure that the Office of Environment Health Hazard Assessment receives revenues necessary to continue its work of implementing Proposition 65 and protecting public health, as intended by the statute.  The proposed changes also raise the bar for demonstrating that settlements requiring reformulation confer a significant public benefit, instead making individual cases fact-specific and stating that payments under a settlement “may” confer public benefit.

For information on submitting public comments, click here.

Attorney General Harris has a long history of taking action to protect the health and well-being of California communities.  She has filed lawsuits to enforce Proposition 65 and other environmental laws, protecting local communities from diesel emissions, hazardous electronic waste, and other harmful pollutants.  She has also supported the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants and led a coalition of states in intervening to defend the EPA from attacks and legal challenges.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Applauds New Law to Increase Commercial Charitable Fundraiser Transparency and Accountability

September 21, 2015
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris released the following statement today in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s signing of Assembly Bill 556, legislation authored by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) and sponsored by Attorney General Harris that will help increase consumer confidence in charitable giving.

“I applaud Governor Brown for signing AB 556, our legislation to increase transparency and accountability in charitable fundraising,” said Attorney General Harris. “This law empowers Californians to donate wisely by providing clear information about how charities use their donations. I thank Assemblymember Irwin for introducing the legislation and for her leadership on this important issue.”

AB 556 closes loopholes in disclosure laws for paid commercial fundraising campaigns by modifying the definition of “commercial fundraiser” to include fundraising counsel that use deceptive tricks to evade registration and fundraising transparency requirements. Fundraising campaigns involving these for-profit companies will now have to disclose whether a portion of donor contributions will be directed to the paid fundraiser.  The bill also expands the existing 10-year statute of limitations for charitable enforcement cases to include for-profit fundraising firms and other third parties who engage in misconduct, extending the window of time to investigate and prosecute violations of charitable law by for-profit fundraisers.

“I’m pleased that Governor Brown signed AB 556, a collaborative effort with Attorney General Kamala Harris to increase transparency in charitable donations,” said Assemblymember Irwin. “This bill will support consumer confidence for the more than 70,000 active nonprofit organizations doing great work in California.”

The bill was supported by a diverse coalition of nonprofits operating in California and received unanimous support in both the Assembly and the Senate.

Attorney General Harris’ office recently released a report summarizing the results of charitable solicitation campaigns conducted by commercial fundraisers in 2013, which found that commercial fundraisers collected approximately $361.5 million in charitable contributions in 2013, an increase of $67.2 million over the amount reported in 2012. Read the report here: https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/charities/publications/2013cfr/cfr2013.pdf.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Applauds New Cyber Exploitation Law

September 10, 2015
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued a statement applauding Governor Jerry Brown’s signature of Senate Bill 676 (Cannella, R-Ceres), which she sponsored.

“Cyber exploitation is an insidious crime that is used to humiliate, degrade, and financially exploit innocent people,” said Attorney General Harris. “SB 676 will restore dignity to victims by providing California law enforcement with a powerful tool to seize and destroy cyber exploitation images and prevent future distribution. I commend Senator Cannella for authoring this important legislation and thank Governor Brown for signing it into law.”

“As technology evolves, unfortunately, so does the rate of cyber-crimes such as cyber exploitation,” said Senator Cannella. “I appreciate the work of Attorney General Harris in prosecuting those who commit these crimes and am glad that Governor Brown signed SB 676 into law to provide stronger protection to victims."

In April, Attorney General Harris announced an 18-year sentence for cyber exploitation operator Kevin Bollaert. This case was the first successful prosecution in the country of an operator of a cyber exploitation website. Bollaert operated ugotposted.com, which allowed the anonymous, public posting of private photographs containing nude and explicit images of individuals without their permission.

In addition to SB 676, Attorney General Harris is also sponsoring AB 1310 (Gatto, D-Glendale), which would allow search warrants to be issued for crimes related to cyber exploitation and allow for the prosecution of cyber exploitation cases in the county where the victim resides or in the county where the images were posted.

Attorney General Harris has convened a working group of 50 major technology companies, victim advocates, and legislative and law enforcement leaders to fight cyber exploitation through a public-private partnership. Specifically, the Attorney General’s working group on cyber exploitation is focused on four key areas: developing an industry statement of principles, education and prevention, law enforcement training and collaboration, and legislation and advocacy. The working group includes major tech companies such as Microsoft, Twitter, Google, Facebook, and Instagram.

Attorney General Harris created the eCrime Unit in 2011 to identify and prosecute identity theft crimes, cybercrimes, and other crimes involving the use of technology.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Support for Senator Mark Leno’s Bill to Protect Children From E-Cigarettes

August 27, 2015
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced her support for SBX2 5, legislation authored by Senator Mark Leno to protect children and youth from the harmful effects of electronic cigarettes.  The bill ensures that e-cigarettes are included in existing laws that prevent underage smoking and mandate smoke-free spaces by explicitly defining them as “tobacco products,” in addition to requiring child-resistant packaging.

“Protecting children from a life of nicotine addiction is essential to good public health and smart fiscal policy,” said Attorney General Harris.  “I thank Senator Leno for his leadership on this issue and urge the Legislature to approve this important legislation.”

SBX2 5 will include e-cigarettes in California’s Smoke-Free Act, which prohibits smoking at workplaces, schools, daycares, restaurants, bars, hospitals and on public transportation. The legislation will also make sure e-cigarettes are covered under the 1994 Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement (STAKE) Act, which has successfully reduced illegal sales of cigarettes to children.  Tobacco use in California is responsible for $13.29 billion in health costs each year.

Attorney General Harris earlier this year launched a first-of-its-kind Bureau of Children’s Justice, with the aim of bringing together the California Department of Justice’s criminal and civil law enforcement tools to hold those who prey on children accountable, help shape and implement policies that help children, and work with a range of stakeholders to better support kids.  More info on the Bureau is available here: https://oag.ca.gov/bcj.