BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó

                                                                     SB 556

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          556 (De León)

          As Amended  May 4, 2015

          Majority vote

          SENATE VOTE:  38-0

          |Committee       |Votes|Ayes                  |Noes                |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |Public Safety   |7-0  |Quirk, Melendez,      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |Jones-Sawyer, Lackey, |                    |
          |                |     |Lopez, Low, Santiago  |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |Appropriations  |14-0 |Gomez, Bigelow,       |                    |
          |                |     |Bloom, Bonta,         |                    |
          |                |     |Calderon, Chang,      |                    |
          |                |     |Eggman, Gallagher,    |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |Eduardo Garcia,       |                    |
          |                |     |Jones, Quirk, Rendon, |                    |
          |                |     |Weber, Wood           |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |


                                                                     SB 556

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          |                |     |                      |                    |

          SUMMARY:  Defines "application processing time" for the approval  
          or denial of a victim's compensation claim by the California  
          Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP).  Specifically, this bill:   

          1)States that, for purposes of processing victim compensation  
            applications under the CalVCP, "time of processing  
            applications" means "the period of time, including all  
            calendar days, that begins when the board first receives an  
            application and ends when a determination is made to approve  
            or deny the application and notice of that determination is  
            sent to the applicant."

          2)Requires the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board  
            (board) to annually 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.

          EXISTING LAW:

          1)Establishes the board to operate the CalVCP.  
          2)Provides than an application for compensation shall be filed  
            with the board in the manner determined by the board.  

          3)States that, except as provided by specified sections of the  
            Government Code, a person shall be eligible for compensation  
            when all of the following requirements are met:


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             a)   The person form whom compensation is being sought any of  
               the following:
               i)     A victim.
               ii)    A derivative victim.

               iii)    A person who is entitled to reimbursement for  
                 funeral, burial or crime scene clean-up expenses pursuant  
                 to specified sections of the Government Code.

             b)   Either of the following conditions is met:
               i)     The crime occurred within California, whether or not  
                 the victim is a resident of California.  This only  
                 applies when the California Victim Compensation and  
                 Government Claims Board (VCGCB) determines that there are  
                 federal funds available to the state for the compensation  
                 of crime victims. 
               ii)    Whether or not the crime occurred within the State  
                 of California, the victim was any of the following:

                  (1)       A California resident.  
                  (2)       A member of the military stationed in  

                  (3)       A family member living with a member of the  
                    military stationed in California.  

             c)   If compensation is being sought for derivative victim,  
               the derivative victim is a resident of California, or the  
               resident of another state who is any of the following:
               i)     At the time of the crimes was the parent,  
                 grandparent, sibling, spouse, child or grandchild of the  
               ii)    At the time of the crime was living in the household  
                 of the victim.  


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               iii)   At the time of the crime was a person who had  
                 previously lived in the house of the victim for a person  
                 of not less than two years in a relationship  
                 substantially similar to a previously listed  

               iv)    Another family member of the victim including, but  
                 not limited to, the victim's fiancé or fiancée, and who  
                 witnessed the crime.  

               v)     Is the primary caretaker of a minor victim, but was  
                 not the primary caretaker at the time of the crime.

             d)   And other specified requirements.  
          4)Authorizes the board to reimburse for pecuniary loss for the  
            following types of losses:
             a)   The amount of medical or medical-related expenses  
               incurred by the victim, subject to specified limitations.
             b)   The amount of out-patient psychiatric, psychological or  
               other mental health counseling-related expenses incurred by  
               the victim, as specified, including peer counseling  
               services provided by a rape crisis center.

             c)   The expenses of non-medical remedial care and treatment  
               rendered in accordance with a religious method of healing  
               recognized by state law.

             d)   Compensation equal to the loss of income or loss of  
               support, or both, that a victim or derivative victim incurs  
               as a direct result of the victim's injury or the victim's  
               death, subject to specified limitations.


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             e)   Cash payment to, or on behalf of, the victim for job  
               retraining or similar employment-oriented services.

             f)   The expense of installing or increasing residential  
               security, not to exceed $1,000, with respect to a crime  
               that occurred in the victim's residence, upon verification  
               by law enforcement to be necessary for the personal safety  
               of the victim or by a mental health treatment provider to  
               be necessary for the emotional well-being of the victim.

             g)   The expense of renovating or retrofitting a victim's  
               residence or a vehicle to make them accessible or  
               operational, if it is medically necessary.

             h)   Expenses incurred in relocating, as specified, if the  
               expenses are determined by law enforcement to be necessary  
               for the personal safety or by a mental health treatment  
               provider to be necessary for the emotional well-being of  
               the victim.

          5)Requires the board to approve or deny applications, based on  
            recommendations by the board staff, within an average of 90  
            calendar days and no later than 180 calendar days of  
            acceptance by the board.  

          6)Requires the board, if it fails to meet the 90-day average, to  
            report to the Legislature on a quarterly basis its progress  
            and current average processing time.  

          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee, minor absorbable cost to the board.


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          COMMENTS:  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 or services.

          "To curb delays, the Legislature required that CalVCP approve or  
          deny applications within an average of 90 day 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."


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          Analysis Prepared by:                                             
          Sandy Uribe / PUB. S. / (916) 319-3744  FN: 0001218