BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1127


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          Date of Hearing:   May 12, 2015


                           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY


                                  Mark Stone, Chair


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


          SUBJECT:  SACRAMENTO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FUNDING: VITAL RECORDS  
          FEES


          KEY ISSUE:  IN ORDER TO COMBAT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND HUMAN  
          TRAFFICKING IN SACRAMENTO COUNTY, SHOULD FEES FOR SPECIFIED  
          VITAL RECORDS BE RAISED TO SUPPORT CREATION OF A ONE-STOP FAMILY  
          JUSTICE CENTER?

                                      SYNOPSIS


          Over the last decade, the Legislature has authorized, on a pilot  
          basis, five counties to increase fees for copies of various  
          vital records to fund governmental oversight and coordination of  
          domestic violence prevention, intervention, and prosecution  
          programs.  Many of these programs have been highly successful in  
          combating domestic violence through creation of one-stop family  
          justice centers (FJCs); and the Legislature, after reviewing  
          program reports required as a condition of the pilots, made the  
          programs in Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties, and the  
          City of Berkeley permanent.  Last year, the Legislature defined  
          FJCs in state law and defined key aspects of their operations.   
          (AB 1623 (Atkins), Chap. 85, Stats. 2014.)










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          This bill, sponsored by the Sacramento County Board of  
          Supervisors and the Sacramento District Attorney, is modeled  
          after similar programs in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.   
          Sacramento County intends to use the increased fees to create a  
          one-stop FJC to help combat domestic violence and human  
          trafficking.  This bill requires the Board of Supervisors to  
          report back to the Legislature on the activities funded by the  
          fee increases and the outcomes of those activities.  The program  
          sunsets as of January 1, 2021.  


          Supporters, including WEAVE, My Sister's House and the  
          California District Attorneys Association, state that the  
          proposed FJC will create a single place for the delivery of  
          comprehensive support services to domestic violence victims,  
          which in turn will lead to improved outcomes for victims,  
          improved offender accountability and improved operational  
          efficiencies.  It is opposed by the California Taxpayers  
          Association and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association who  
          argue that the fee increase is a special tax that, under  
          Proposition 26, requires approval by a two-thirds vote.  This  
          bill passed the Local Government Committee last week on a vote  
          of 5-3.


          SUMMARY:  Creates, as a pilot program, the Sacramento County  
          Zero Tolerance for Family Violence and Human Trafficking Act,  
          which authorizes the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors to  
          increase specified fees to fund domestic violence and human  
          trafficking prevention programs.  Specifically, this bill:  


          1)Authorizes, until January 1, 2021, the Sacramento County Board  
            of Supervisors (Board), upon making specified findings and  
            declarations to increase the fees for certified copies of  
            marriage certificates, birth certificates, fetal death  
            records, and death records, up to a maximum increase of $4,  
            with further increases permitted annually based on the  
            California Consumer Price Index (CPI), as specified. 








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          2)Requires proceeds from the fee increase 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.


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


          4)Requires the Board to submit to the Legislature, no later than  
            July 1, 2017, a report about the annual amounts of funds  
            received and expended from the fee increases and the outcomes  
            achieved. 


          5)Makes specified findings and declarations, including:


             a)   In 2013, 18,000 domestic violence-related calls were  
               reported by law enforcement entities within Sacramento  
               County, with over 4,000 adult cases arrested and over 2,400  
               cases filed and prosecuted.  More than 21,000 crisis calls  
               are made to the three domestic violence shelter programs in  
               Sacramento County every year.


             b)   Sacramento has a high rate of human trafficking, and in  








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               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.


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


             d)   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.


             e)   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.


          EXISTING LAW:  


          1)Authorizes the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors to increase  
            the fee by up to $4 (subject to CPI increases) for certified  
            copies of marriage certificates, birth certificates, and death  
            records to provide funding for governmental oversight and  
            coordination of domestic violence prevention, intervention,  
            and prosecution efforts in Contra Costa County.  (Health and  
            Safety Code Section 103626; Welfare and Institutions Code  
            Section 18308.)
          2)Authorizes the Alameda, Solano and the Stanislaus County  








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            Boards of Supervisors, and the Berkeley City Council, upon  
            making specified findings and declarations, to increase the  
            fees for marriage licenses and confidential marriage licenses,  
            as well as certified copies of marriage, birth, and death  
            certificates, by up to $2, with further CPI increases  
            permitted on an annual basis.  The authorization for  
            Stanislaus expires on January 1, 2016.  Directs that the fees  
            be deposited into a special fund to be used for governmental  
            oversight and coordination of domestic violence and family  
            violence prevention, intervention, and prosecution efforts.  
            (Government Code Sections 26840.10 and 26840.11; Health and  
            Safety Code Sections 103627, 103627, 103628, 103628.6; Welfare  
            and Institutions Code Sections 18309, 18309.5 and 18309.8.)


          3)Authorizes a city, county, city and county, or community-based  
            nonprofit organization to establish a family justice center  
            (FJC), as defined, to assist victims of domestic violence,  
            sexual assault, elder and dependent adult abuse, and human  
            trafficking to ensure victims of abuse are able to access all  
            needed services in one location.  (Penal Code section 13750.)


          FISCAL EFFECT:  As currently in print this bill is keyed  
          non-fiscal.


          COMMENTS:  Over the last decade, the Legislature has authorized,  
          on a pilot basis, five counties to increase fees for marriage  
          licenses and for marriage, birth and death certificates to fund  
          governmental oversight and coordination of domestic violence  
          prevention, intervention, and prosecution programs.  These  
          programs have been highly successful and have led to the  
          creation of a family justice center in Alameda County, a youth  
          intervention program in the City of Berkeley and significantly  
          greater coordination of services in Contra Costa County.  As a  
          result of their successes, the Legislature, after reviewing  
          program reports required as a condition of the pilots, made the  
          programs in Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties and the  








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          City of Berkeley permanent.  


          This bill, sponsored by the Sacramento County Board of  
          Supervisors and the Sacramento District Attorney, is modeled  
          after the programs in Alameda and Contra Costa counties and  
          allows the Sacramento Board of Supervisors, on a pilot basis,  
          the ability to raise fees for certified copies of marriage and  
          birth certificates and death records by up to $4 in order to  
          fund governmental oversight and coordination of domestic  
          violence prevention and intervention.  The fee would increase  
          annually based on the CPI.  Sacramento County intends to use the  
          increased fees to create a one-stop FJC to help combat domestic  
          violence and human trafficking.  This bill requires the Board to  
          report back to the Legislature on the activities funded by the  
          fee increases and the outcomes of those activities.  This bill  
          sunsets the program as of January 1, 2021.  


          The author explains the need for the bill:  "To ensure the  
          effectiveness of the efforts of those working to address  
          [d]omestic violence, it is necessary to ensure that their  
          objects, protocols, policies, and activities are aligned.  AB  
          1127 allows the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors to  
          increase the fees charged for providing copies of vital records  
          to fund a domestic violence resource center/family justice  
          center."


          The bill's sponsors add:


               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  








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


          Devastating Effects of Domestic Violence on Women and Families.   
          Domestic violence is a serious criminal justice and public  
          health problem most often perpetrated against women. (Extent,  
          Nature and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings  
          from the National Violence against Women Survey, U.S. Department  
          of Justice (2001).)  Prevalence of domestic violence at the  
          national level ranges from 960,000 to three million women each  
          year who are physically abused by their husbands or boyfriends.   
          While the numbers are staggering, they only include those cases  
          of reported domestic violence.  In fact, according to a 1998  
          Commonwealth Fund survey of women's health, nearly 31% of  
          American women report being physically or sexually abused by a  
          husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives.  (Health  
          Concerns Across a Woman's Lifespan: 1998 Survey of Women's  
          Health, The Commonwealth Fund (May 1999).)


          Domestic violence continues to be a significant problem in  
          California.  In 2005, the Attorney General's Task Force on  
          Domestic Violence reported that:


               The health consequences of physical and psychological  
               domestic violence can be significant and long lasting, for  
               both victims and their children. . . . A study by the  
               California Department of Health Services of women's health  
               issues found that nearly six percent of women, or about  
               620,000 women per year, experienced violence or physical  
               abuse by their intimate partners.  Women living in  
               households where children are present experienced domestic  








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               violence at much higher rates than women living in  
               households without children: domestic violence occurred in  
               more than 436,000 households per year in which children  
               were present, potentially exposing approximately 916,000  
               children to violence in their homes every year.


          (Report to the California Attorney General from the Task Force  
          on Local Criminal Justice Response to Domestic Violence, Keeping  
          the Promise: Victim Safety and Batterer Accountability (June  
          2005) (footnotes omitted).) 


          That report discovered numerous significant and troubling  
          problems in the implementation of statutory directives aimed at  
          preventing domestic violence, including failing to enter  
          restraining orders into CLETS (California Law Enforcement  
          Telecommunications System) and failing to ensure that batterers  
          attend mandated treatment programs. 


          Human Trafficking is a Significant Problem in Sacramento County.  
           According to a report by the California Child Welfare Council,  
          California is a magnet for commercial exploitation of children,  
          and many of those children are also involved with the child  
          welfare system:  


               Youth in the child welfare system are particularly  
               vulnerable to [commercial sexual exploitation].  Abuse and  
               neglect, unstable placements, and lack of positive  
               relationships create vulnerabilities that exploiters  
               target.  "One recovered youth told me 'being in foster care  
               was the perfect training for commercial sexual  
               exploitation.  I was used to being moved without warning,  
               without any say, not knowing where I was going or whether I  
               was allowed to pack my clothes.  After years in foster  
               care, I didn't think anyone would want to take care of me  
               unless they were paid.  So, when my pimp expected me to  








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               make money to support 'the family,' it made sense to me.'"


          (Kate Walker, Ending the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of  
          Children:  A Call for Multi-System Collaboration in California  
          5-6 (California Child Welfare Council 2013) (footnote omitted).)  
           A one-stop FJC would bring together not only law enforcement,  
          but also child welfare and community services necessary to  
          support these young victims.  


          According to the sponsors, Sacramento has a particularly high  
          rate of human trafficking.  An FBI national sweep to stop human  
          trafficking rescued the sixth highest number of underage human  
          trafficking victims in Sacramento.  


          Successful Pilot Programs to Combat Domestic Violence Made  
          Permanent.  While initially begun as pilots, the programs in  
          Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties and the City of  
          Berkeley have now been made permanent.  In support of making  
          those programs permanent, the Alameda County Board of  
          Supervisors wrote that the funds from the fee increases have  
          played a vital role in funding the coordination costs and have  
          "changed the way systems and service providers are delivering  
          essential and critical services to victims of domestic violence  
          and their children."  The Board noted that domestic violence  
          deaths in the county dropped from 26 in 2001 to 3 in 2006, with  
          a goal of zero deaths going forward. 


          The Alameda County District Attorney's Office agreed, stating  
          that as a result of the Family Justice Center in the county  
          built, in part, with funds provided by the fee increases, "there  
          is a new (or re-newed) confidence on the part of Victims that  
          the legal systems work for them and that there are resources and  
          service providers who will work together to protect, support and  
          empower them and their children to have lives free of  
          interpersonal violence."








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          The Berkeley City Council told the Legislature that it uses  
          these funds for youth intervention in the schools to promote  
          healthy relationships and prevent domestic violence, modeled  
          after "extremely successful peer health educator programs."


          As a result of the increased funding, Contra Costa County has  
          been able to, among other things, increase funding for a  
          coordinated system and for individual agencies; increase  
          systemwide accountability; increase batterer accountability; and  
          increase protections for victims and children. Prior to the fee  
          increase, individual agencies had not worked together smoothly,  
          but the funding increase has permitted the county to operate an  
          efficient and coordinated system.


          Family Justice Center Model for Combating Domestic Violence.   
          The FJC model was originally developed in San Diego, which  
          opened a center in 2002.  The idea behind the FJC model is to  
          create a coordinated, single-point-of-access center offering  
          comprehensive services for victims of domestic violence, thereby  
          reducing the number of locations a victim must visit in order to  
          receive critical services.  The United States Department of  
          Justice, through its Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), has  
          identified the FJC model as a best practice in the field of  
          domestic violence.  According to the OVW, FJC outcomes include a  
          reduction in the rate of homicide; increased victim safety;  
          improved offender prosecution; reduced fear and anxiety for  
          victims and their children; increased efficiency among service  
          providers through the provision of collaborative services; and  
          increased community support for the provision of services to  
          victims and their children.  (Casey Gwinn and Gael Strack, Hope  
          for Hurting Families: Creating Family Justice Centers Across  
          America (Volcano Press 2006).)  


          In 2011 the Legislature passed SB 557 (Kehoe), Chap. 262, which  








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          directed the establishment of four FJCs to assist victims of  
          domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, cyberstalking,  
          cyberbullying, human trafficking, and elder or dependent adult  
          abuse.  An evaluation of the FJCs, mandated by that bill, found  
          that the centers "successfully served a significant number of  
          survivors and addressed multiple service needs, supporting the  
          need for co-located multi-agency service models."  Last year,  
          the Legislature in AB 1623 (Atkins), Chap. 85, Stats. 2014,  
          sought to further improve the operation of FJCs across the state  
          by defining FJCs in state law and setting forth key aspects of  
          their operations.  There are almost 20 FJCs operating in  
          California today. 


          This Bill Will Allow Sacramento County to Fund a Family Justice  
          Center.  According to the sponsors, this bill will allow  
          Sacramento County to open a one-stop FJC to help address family  
          violence and human trafficking.  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."  Sacramento County estimates it will raise  
          $500,000 annually from the increased fees for vital records.  


          Opposition Raises Proposition 26 Tax Concern.  The Howard Jarvis  
          Taxpayers Association, in opposition, states that 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."  The Association writes that the bill lacks an  
          appropriate regulatory nexus between the fee increase and its  








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          use and therefore the bill "purports to authorize a special tax  
          without the requisite two-thirds vote."  


          California voters approved Proposition 26 in 2012, an initiative  
          constitutional amendment that expanded the definition of a "tax"  
          to include many state and local government assessments  
          previously classified as "fees."  Among other provisions,  
          Proposition 26 amended Article XIII C, Section 1 of the  
          California Constitution to define the term "tax" as any levy,  
          charge, or exaction of any kind imposed by a local government,  
          with seven specific exemptions.  If the extension of the fee  
          increase does not fall into one of those exemptions, it will  
          likely require approval by local voters.  However, since this  
          bill does not mandate the fee extension, but simply allows the  
          county to extend the fee increase, it does not require a  
          two-thirds vote in the Legislature.


          The California Taxpayer Association adds that a fee on records  
          "merely should cover the reasonable administrative costs of  
                    processing and printing the license or record, as well as any  
          administrative staff time used to cover the cost of providing  
          such a service.  While we commend the author for seeking  
          solutions to prevent domestic and family violence, the county  
          should instead consider other funding alternatives for such  
          programs."


          Previous Legislation.  AB 1852 (Campos), 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.  AB  
          1883 (Evans), 2010, which would have allowed a county board of  
          supervisors, or a city council of a city with a local registrar,  
          to increase similar fees, was held in the Senate.










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


          SB 635 (Wiggins), Chap. 356, Stats. 2009, established a similar  
          domestic violence prevention funding pilot program in Sonoma  
          County until January 1, 2015.  


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


          AB 2010 (Hancock), Chap. 830, Stats. 2004, established the pilot  
          programs in Alameda County and Solano County.  AB 1712  
          (Hancock), Chap. 545, Stats. 2005, authorized the City of  
          Berkeley, within Alameda County, to also participate in the  
          pilot program.  AB 73 (Hayashi), Chap. 215, Stats. 2009,  
          repealed the sunset date, making Alameda's and Berkeley's  
          programs effective indefinitely; and SB 154 (Wolk), Chap. 120,  
          Stats. 2011, made the Solano County program permanent.


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          Sacramento County Board of Supervisors (co-sponsor)


          Sacramento County District Attorney (co-sponsor)








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          A Community for Peace


          California District Attorneys Association


          California Police Chiefs Association


          My Sister's House


          WEAVE




          Opposition


          California Taxpayers Association


          Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association




          Analysis Prepared by:Leora Gershenzon / JUD. / (916) 319-2334
















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