BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó

                                                                     SB 556  

                                                                    Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   July 8, 2015


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair

          SB 556  
          (De León) - As Amended May 4, 2015

          |Policy       | Public Safety                 |Vote:| 7 - 0       |
          |Committee:   |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |

          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  NoReimbursable:  No


          This bill defines "application processing time" for the approval  
          or denial of a victim's compensation claim by the California  
          Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP), and requires the Victim  
          Compensation and Government Claims Board (board) to annually  


                                                                     SB 556  

                                                                    Page  2

          post on its Internet Web site its current average time of  
          processing applications, the number of applications approved and  
          denied, and the number of incomplete applications received.

          FISCAL EFFECT:

          Minor absorbable cost to the board. 


          1)Background.  The CalVCP provides compensation for victims of  
            violent crimes.  It reimburses eligible victims for many  
            crime-related expenses, such as medical treatment, mental  
            health services, funeral expenses, home security, and  
            relocation services.  Funding for the board comes from  
            restitution fines and penalty assessments paid by criminal  
            offenders, as well as federal matching funds.  

          2)Purpose.  According to the author, "Through the California  
            Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP), California has been  
            helping victims by covering the cost of bills and expenses  
            resulting from certain violent crimes.  Many times, these  
            expenses include medical treatment, mental health services,  
            and lost income.  A person seeking assistance must first  
            submit an application to the program to determine eligibility.  
            However, for reasons such as leaving a box unchecked on  
            whether the victim intends to file a civil suit or not signing  
            the form, some applications get held up in the process for  
            extended lengths of time. For these and other minor  
            deficiencies, many eligible victims are stuck with paying  
            bills out of pocket or otherwise unable to receive treatment  


                                                                     SB 556  

                                                                    Page  3

            or services."

          "To curb delays, the Legislature required that CalVCP approve or  
            deny applications within an average of 90 days and that the  
            program report to the Legislature whenever the 90-day-average  
            standard was not being met. CalVCP's current method of  
            calculating application processing time, however, starts only  
            when a completed application is received, leaving the time an  
            application is first received, but not fully filled out,  
            outside of the official processing time. This method is not a  
            true reflection of how long it takes the program to process  
            applications and may be masking issues of lengthy processing  
            times that hinder crime victims in their efforts towards  
            rehabilitation and moving on with their lives.

          "SB 556 will help ensure that crime victims receive the  
            financial assistance they are owed in a timely manner by  
            clarifying the start and end times that CalVCP uses in  
            processing applications to determine eligibility and requiring  
            this data be made available on the program's website."

          3)Related Legislation:

             a)   AB 1140 (Bonta), pending a hearing in Senate Public  
               Safety, revises various rules governing the CalVCP.  

             b)   SB 519 (Hancock), pending a hearing in Assembly Public  
               Safety, makes various changes to the CalVCP, including but  
               not limited to expanding eligibility for compensation and  
               revising processing standards.   


                                                                     SB 556  

                                                                    Page  4

          Analysis Prepared by:Pedro R. Reyes / APPR. / (916)