BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 432
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          Date of Hearing:   May 18, 2011

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                Felipe Fuentes, Chair

                     AB 432 (Hall) - As Amended:  April 26, 2011 

          Policy Committee:                              
          TransportationVote:14-0

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program: 
          Yes    Reimbursable:              Yes

           SUMMARY  

          This bill requires a written notice to appear for an alleged 
          violation recorded by an automated traffic violation be issued 
          by a peace officer or a qualified employee of a law enforcement 
          agency and delivered with a United States Post Office (USPS) 
          certificate of mailing.

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          1)Unknown costs, possibly in the hundreds of thousands of 
            dollars, to local agencies for peace officer or law 
            enforcement staff time to issue written notices to appear, 
            instead of allowing contracted entities to issue those 
            notices. (Local special funds.)

          2)Unknown, potentially significant reduction in fine and penalty 
            revenues, possibly in the millions of dollars annually, (state 
            and local special funds), to the extent locals eliminate or 
            reduce use of automated traffic violation devices as a result 
            of this bill.


          3)Potential reduction in court costs of an unknown amount, and a 
            corresponding increase in state and local revenue (state and 
            local special funds), to the extent the bill reduces unpaid or 
            contested traffic violations.

           COMMENTS  

           1)Rationale.   The author notes that existing statute authorizes 
            local government agencies to contract with private vendors who 








                                                                  AB 432
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            capture images of alleged violations and to send notices to 
            appear for those offenses that are substantiated.  The author 
            contends that many individuals who receive such notices seem 
            to doubt their authenticity because the notice was sent by an 
            entity other than a law enforcement agency and, oftentimes, 
            from an address other than that where the alleged violation 
            occurred.   The author further contends such delegation of 
            authority represents a failure of law enforcement to carry out 
            its duty and results in judges dismissing a greater number of 
            alleged violations than would otherwise occur. 

           2)Background  .  Automated enforcement systems have been 
            authorized for use by local governments since 1998. Current 
            law authorizes use of these systems subject to various 
            requirements relating to posting of signs to notify motorists 
            of the presence of the system, adherence to traffic signal 
            timing and intervals standards, and confidentiality of data 
            collected by the system. Current law also prohibits a contract 
            between a government agency and a manufacturer or supplier of 
            automated traffic enforcement equipment from including 
            provisions for the payment or compensation to the manufacturer 
            or supplier based on the number of citations generated, or as 
            a percentage of the revenue generated, as a result of the use 
            of the equipment.

            Under current practice, vendors are contracted by local 
            authorities to capture images of vehicles that fail to come to 
            a complete stop at designated intersections.  The images are 
            collected by the vendor and screened to eliminate those that 
            fail to show a violation.  The remaining images are sent to 
            local law enforcement where an officer reviews the images and 
            directs the vendor to send notices to appear for those that 
            clearly show violations.  

           3)Related Legislation.  SB 1362 (Simitian) of 2010 would have 
            imposed additional requirements on the use of automated 
            traffic enforcement systems.  The bill passed the Senate 31-1 
            but was held by this committee.

           4)The policy committee received no formal support to this bill.
                
           5)Opposition.   The bill is opposed by the League of California 
            Cities, who expresses concern about the effect on local costs 
            and use of what the league describes as a useful public safety 
            tool.  








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           Analysis Prepared by  :    Jay Dickenson / APPR. / (916) 319-2081