BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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          Date of Hearing:  April 15, 2015


                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT


                              Brian Maienschein, Chair


          AB 1127  
          (Cooley) - As Amended April 6, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Domestic and family violence:  Sacramento County.


          SUMMARY:  Allows Sacramento County to increase fees by up to $4  
          for certified copies of marriage certificates, birth  
          certificates, fetal death records, and death records to fund  
          domestic and family violence prevention, intervention, and  
          prosecution.  Specifically, this bill:  


          1)Establishes the Sacramento County Zero Tolerance for Family  
            Violence and Human Trafficking Act.



          2)Allows the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors (Board),  
            upon making findings and declarations for the need for  
            governmental oversight and coordination of the multiple  
            agencies dealing with domestic violence, to authorize an  
            increase in the fees for certified copies of marriage  
            certificates, birth certificates, fetal death records, and  
            death records, up to a maximum increase of $4.



          3)Allows the Board, effective July 1 of each year, to authorize  








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            an increase in these fees by an amount equal to the increase  
            in the California Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the preceding  
            calendar year, rounded to the nearest 50 cents.  The fees  
            shall be allocated pursuant to the provisions outlined in 7)  
            through 9), below.



          4)Requires an applicant for a certified copy of a marriage  
            certificate, birth certificate, a fetal death record, or death  
            record in Sacramento County to pay to the local registrar,  
            county recorder, or county clerk the fees established by the  
            Board pursuant to 2) and 3), above.



          5)Requires the Board to submit to the Legislature, no later than  
            July 1, 2017, a report containing the following information:



             a)   The total annual amount of funds received and expended  
               from fee increases for the purpose of governmental  
               oversight and coordination of domestic violence prevention,  
               intervention, and prosecution efforts in the county; and,



             b)   Outcomes achieved as a result of the activities  
               associated with the Sacramento County Zero Tolerance for  
               Family Violence and Human Trafficking Act.



          6)Requires the report described above to be submitted in  
            compliance with existing law governing the process for  
            submitting reports to the Legislature.










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          7)Requires the Board to direct the local registrar, county  
            recorder, and county clerk to deposit fees collected pursuant  
            to the provisions described, above, into a special fund.  



          8)Requires proceeds from the fund to be used for governmental  
            oversight and coordination of domestic violence and family  
            violence prevention, intervention, and prosecution efforts  
            among the court system, the district attorney's office, the  
            public defender's office, law enforcement, the probation  
            department, mental health, substance abuse, child welfare  
            services, adult protective services, and community-based  
            organizations and other agencies working in Sacramento County  
            in order to increase the effectiveness of prevention, early  
            intervention, and prosecution of domestic and family violence.



          9)Allows Sacramento County to retain up to 4 percent of the fund  
            for administrative costs associated with the collection and  
            segregation of the additional fees and the deposit of these  
            fees into the special fund.  



          10)Makes the following findings and declarations:



             a)   Since 2005, over 150 individuals have died in homicides  
               related to domestic violence. This number includes  
               children, one as young as two years old;



             b)   In 2013 alone, a total of 18,000 domestic  
               violence-related calls were reported by law enforcement  








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               entities within Sacramento County, with over 4,000 adult  
               cases arrested and over 2,400 cases filed and prosecuted;



             c)   More than 21,000 crisis calls are made to the three  
               domestic violence shelter programs in Sacramento County  
               every year;



             d)   Domestic violence has many hidden costs.  These costs  
               include exposing children to recruitment by human  
               traffickers.  Currently in Sacramento, 76 percent of the  
               children screened by the juvenile court are found to be  
               involved with, or vulnerable for recruitment to, human  
               trafficking have a family history with child protective  
               services, and 20 percent have an open case with child  
               protective services;



             e)   Sacramento has a high rate of human trafficking, and in  
               2013, the FBI Human Trafficking Task Force, in a multiday  
               sweep involving Sacramento, rescued the sixth highest total  
               of underage trafficking victims in the country;



             f)   Domestic violence is ubiquitous, it cuts across all  
               economic and education levels, all age groups, ethnicities,  
               and other social and community characteristics;



             g)   Domestic violence is insidious, it is characterized by a  
               predictable, repetitious cycle that can result in injury or  
               death of victims, including children;









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             h)   Domestic violence puts children at risk.  Children in  
               homes where domestic violence occurs are physically abused  
               or seriously neglected at a rate significantly higher than  
               the national average in the general population;



             i)   Domestic violence is learned and generational.  Studies  
               show that boys who witness family violence are more likely  
               to batter their female partners as adults than boys raised  
               in nonviolent homes.  Girls who witness their mothers'  
               abuse have higher rates of being battered as adults and it  
               is often a precursor to becoming a victim of human  
               trafficking.  Over 80 percent of victims of human  
               trafficking either suffered abuse in their homes or  
               witnessed such abuse between parents;



             j)   Substance abuse is a significant factor contributing to,  
               although not necessarily a cause of, domestic violence.   
               Many domestic violence offenders have documented histories  
               of substance abuse or were under the influence of drugs or  
               alcohol at the time a felony crime was committed.  Over 80  
               percent of human trafficking victims had parents that  
               abused substances;



             aa)  Domestic violence is costly, both in human and  
               organizational terms.  The results of domestic violence  
               have many hidden costs, such as job turnover, loss of  
               productivity, school absenteeism, low school performance,  
               in addition to the high cost of law enforcement, civil and  
               criminal justice, health services, mental health services,  
               substance abuse treatment, human services, and  
               community-based services;








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             bb)  The domestic violence prevention, intervention, and  
               prosecution system is complex and multifaceted, spanning  
               civil, criminal, health, and social service sectors, and in  
               order to be effective, there must be an alignment in the  
               objectives, protocols, policies, and activities of each  
               sector; and,



             cc)  A special law is necessary and a general law cannot be  
               made applicable within the meaning of Section 16 of Article  
               IV of the California Constitution because of the unique  
               circumstances of Sacramento County with respect to domestic  
               violence and human trafficking.


          11)Provides that this bill shall remain in effect only until  
            January 1, 2021, and as of that date is repealed, unless a  
            later enacted statute that is enacted before January 1, 2021,  
            deletes or extends that date.



          EXISTING LAW allows the following local jurisdictions to  
          increase fees for copies of marriage certificates, birth  
          certificates, fetal death records, and death records to fund  
          governmental oversight and coordination of domestic violence  
          prevention, intervention, and prosecution programs: the City of  
          Berkeley (birth and death records only) and the Counties of  
          Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano, Sonoma, and Stanislaus.  


          FISCAL EFFECT:  None


          COMMENTS:  








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          1)Bill Summary.  This bill allows Sacramento County to increase  
            fees by up to $4 for certified copies of marriage  
            certificates, birth certificates, fetal death records, and  
            death records to fund domestic and family violence prevention,  
            intervention, and prosecution.  The Board must submit a report  
            to the Legislature by July 1, 2017, a report containing the  
            following information:



             a)   The total annual amount of funds received and expended  
               from fee increases for the purpose of governmental  
               oversight and coordination of domestic violence prevention,  
               intervention, and prosecution efforts in the county; and,



             b)   Outcomes achieved as a result of the activities  
               associated with the Sacramento County Zero Tolerance for  
               Family Violence and Human Trafficking Act.



            This bill is sponsored by the Sacramento County Board of  
            Supervisors and the Sacramento County District Attorney.





          2)Author's Statement.  According to the author, "In 2013 alone,  
            a total of 18,000 domestic violence-related calls were  
            reported by law enforcement entities within Sacramento County.  
             More than 21,000 crisis calls are made to the three domestic  
            violence shelter programs in Sacramento County every year.










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            "Domestic violence puts children at risk.  Children in homes  
            where domestic violence occurs are physically abused or  
            seriously neglected at a rate significantly higher than the  
            national average.  Children in these homes are more vulnerable  
            to recruitment to human traffickers.  Currently, in  
            Sacramento, 76 percent of children screened by the Juvenile  
            Court and found to be involved or vulnerable for recruitment  
            to trafficking have a family history with Child Protective  
            Services (CPS).  Twenty percent have an open case with CPS.





            "The domestic violence prevention, intervention, and  
            prosecution system is complex and multi-faceted.  It spans the  
            civil, criminal, health and social service sectors.  To ensure  
            the effectiveness of the efforts to address domestic violence  
            in these sectors, it is necessary to ensure that their  
            objectives, protocols, policies, and activities are aligned."





          3)Background.  The Legislature has allowed the following local  
            jurisdictions to increase fees for copies of marriage  
            certificates, birth certificates, fetal death records, and  
            death records to fund governmental oversight and coordination  
            of domestic violence prevention, intervention, and prosecution  
            programs: the City of Berkeley (birth and death records only)  
            and the Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano, Sonoma, and  
            Stanislaus.



            Contra Costa is allowed an increase of $4, while all other  
            jurisdictions are allowed a $2 increase.  All jurisdictions  








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            may approve additional increases based on the CPI for the San  
            Francisco metropolitan area.  These programs were initially  
            established on a pilot basis and were made permanent after  
            submitting required reports on their effectiveness to the  
            Legislature (with the exception of Stanislaus County, which  
            has a sunset date of January 1, 2016).


            This bill establishes in a nearly identical fashion the same  
            authority for Sacramento County, which estimates additional  
            revenue of $500,000 annually from the bill's authority.   
            Sacramento County's current fees for these records range from  
            $11 to $28, depending on the type or record requested and the  
            type of requestor (a government agency or a member of the  
            public).  Sacramento County would like to use funds generated  
            by the fee increases to assist in establishing a Family  
            Justice Center.





          4)Sacramento County Family Justice Center.  According to  
            Sacramento County's website, "In 2011, the national Family  
            Justice Center Alliance chose Sacramento County to receive  
            initial funds to launch a Family Justice Center (FJC).  The  
            FJC will be available to serve victims of family violence and  
            sexual assaults, including victims of marital and dating  
            violence, elder and child abuse and human trafficking.  The  
            FJC collaborative will include government agencies and  
            community based organizations working together with one  
            central facility where victims and their families can come to  
            access almost all services available in the county. 



            "Services will include immediate crisis intervention, safety  
            planning, social service eligibility, counseling, child  
            advocacy, emergency food and transportation, and many other  








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            support services designed to keep them from falling back into  
            the hands of the accused.  Services will be either housed at  
            the center or linked via video.  Although there are currently  
            15 FJCs throughout California, the Sacramento center will be a  
            first-of-its-kind in the state because it will integrate  
            Sacramento State as a key partner.  The center will provide  
            unique learning and research opportunities for both students  
            and faculty members."





          5)Proposition 26.  In the November 2010 election, California  
            voters approved Proposition 26, which amended the California  
            Constitution to expand the definitions of local taxes and tax  
            increases that require voter approval.  Under Proposition 26,  
            any levy, charge, or exaction 
          of any kind imposed by a local government is a tax, requiring  
            voter approval, except for:



             a)   A charge for a benefit or privilege conveyed directly to  
               the payor and not conveyed to those not charged;



             b)   A charge for a service or product provided directly to  
               the payor and not provided to those not charged;



             c)   A fee to cover certain costs of regulation;



             d)   Entrance fees for state or local property;









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             e)   Fines imposed by a court or a local government;



             f)   A charge imposed as a condition of property development;  
               and,



             g)   Assessments and property-related fees governed by  
               Proposition 218.



            It is not clear that local fees on vital records to fund the  
            coordination of domestic violence prevention efforts qualify  
            as fees under any of Proposition 26's exceptions.  Instead,  
            they may be local special taxes, which must be approved by  
            two-thirds of voters before they can be added to the charges  
            for copies of vital records.





          6)Policy Considerations.  This bill establishes the Sacramento  
            County Zero Tolerance for Family Violence and Human  
            Trafficking Act.  While the provisions of this bill are nearly  
            identical to existing programs for a handful of other local  
            jurisdictions in California, including the purposes for which  
            funds generated by increased fees must be allocated, the  
            inclusion of human trafficking in these statutes is new.   
            While the prevention of human trafficking is laudable, the  
            Committee may wish to consider whether the statutes governing  
            the authority of local jurisdictions to increase fees for the  
            support of programs addressing domestic violence should  
            include human trafficking in the language.








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          7)Previous Legislation.  AB 1852 (Campos) of 2012 would have  
            allowed a county board 
            of supervisors, or a city council of a city with a local  
            registrar, to increase fees for certified copies of marriage  
            certificates, birth certificates, fetal death records, and  
            death records by up to $5.  AB 1852 was vetoed with the  
            following message:





               "Domestic violence and child abuse prevention programs are  
               well worth the investment of public funds, but seeking a  
               fee increase on vital records, when the fee is already  
               going up by $6 for some of these records, would burden  
               people of modest means."


            AB 1770 (Galgiani), Chapter 578, Statutes of 2010, established  
            a similar domestic violence prevention funding pilot program  
            in Stanislaus County until January 1, 2016.  





            SB 635 (Wiggins), Chapter 356, Statutes of 2009, established a  
            similar domestic violence prevention funding pilot program in  
            Sonoma County until January 1, 2015.  SB 154 (Wolk), Chapter  
            120, Statutes of 2011, repealed the sunset date, making the  
            program permanent.












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            SB 425 (Torlakson), Chapter 90, Statutes of 2001, established  
            a similar domestic violence prevention funding pilot program  
            in Contra Costa County.  SB 968 (Torlakson), Chapter 635,  
            Statutes of 2006, repealed the sunset date, making Contra  
            Costa's program effective indefinitely.  





            AB 2010 (Hancock), Chapter 830, Statutes of 2004, established  
            the pilot programs in Alameda County and Solano County.  AB  
            1712 (Hancock), Chapter 545, Statutes of 2005, authorized the  
            City of Berkeley, within Alameda County, to also participate  
            in the pilot program.  AB 73 (Hayashi), Chapter 215, Statutes  
            of 2009, repealed the sunset date, making Alameda's and  
            Berkeley's programs effective indefinitely.    





          8)Arguments in Support.  The Sacramento County Board of  
            Supervisors and the Sacramento County District Attorney,  
            sponsors of this measure, write, "Research done by the Family  
            Justice Center Alliance found that 'survivors?benefitted from  
            a comprehensive service approach that considered the context  
            of a safe and supportive environment, in an all-in-one service  
            approach that included the therapeutic and legal needs of  
            survivors, and individualized services that emphasized  
            emotional support and survivors getting the help they need.'  



            "The service model contemplated in Sacramento County would  
            serve victims of not only domestic violence, but also family  
            violence including child abuse victims as well as survivors of  
            human trafficking.  This comprehensive approach to service  








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            delivery is vital to producing more positive outcomes and  
            making the receipt of services easier for victims.





            "The family justice center model has seen significant  
            successes across the state.  Since adopting this model,  
            Alameda County has had a 20 percent reduction in domestic  
            violence case dismissals; improved inter-agency collaboration;  
            a dramatic reduction in domestic violence homicides (from 31  
            in 2001 to 3 in 2007); and, provided over 20,000 coordinated  
            client services since opening.  Sacramento County wishes to be  
            counted among these successes."





          9)Arguments in Opposition.  The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers  
            Association, in opposition, states, "While the purpose of this  
            tax - to provide a source of funding for domestic violence  
            programs - is laudable, the means to that end is flatly  
            illegal and will only engender expensive and protracted  
            litigation.  AB 1127, simply stated, violates Proposition  
            26?(which) lists a series of five regulatory fee exemptions  
            that allow levies to not be termed tax increases.  Of these,  
            only one is really even debatable.  Article XIII C, section  
            1(e)(3) 

          exempts 'A charge imposed for the reasonable regulatory costs to  
            a local government for issuing licenses and permits,  
            performing investigations, inspections, and audits, ... and  
            the administrative enforcement and adjudication thereof.'



            "This exemption is also inapplicable because the revenue from  








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            the AB 1127 fee is not being used to regulate the payers of  
            the fee.  There is no proof that marriage, for example (much  
            less birth or death) leads to domestic violence.  In fact, the  
            opposite is true.  Empirical studies show that married couples  
            are less likely candidates for domestic violence than persons  
            in unmarried relationships.  Therefore, most payers will never  
            be covered by the funded programs.  





            "Moreover, local governments simply do not regulate marriages.  
             They do not conduct regulatory inspections or audits to  
            enforce rules on married households.  The exemption was  
            obviously intended by voters to refer to regulated business  
            activities, not marriages.  In sum, because of the lack of an  
            appropriate regulatory nexus, AB 1127 purports to authorize a  
            special tax without the requisite two-thirds vote."





          10)Double-Referral.  This bill is double-referred to the  
            Judiciary Committee.



          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          Sacramento County Board of Supervisors [CO-SPONSOR]









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          Sacramento County District Attorney [CO-SPONSOR]


          A Community for Peace


          California District Attorneys Association


          My Sister's House


          WEAVE




          Opposition


          CalTax


          Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association




          Analysis Prepared by:Angela Mapp / L. GOV. / (916) 319-3958

















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