By Vanguard Staff
Sacramento, CA – Last week, Senator Sydney Kamlager’s seminal bill on police accountability was signed into law by Senator Newsom. Her momentum continued this week as three major criminal justice bills authored by the Senator, passed out of their respective Senate policy committees.
The three bills — AB 333, AB 124, and AB 118, all centered on reforming and re-engineering the criminal legal system, now head to Senate Appropriations.
AB 333: The STEP Forward Act would narrow the application of a gang enhancement to underlying offenses actually committed on behalf of a gang. Currently, gang enhancement statutes have vague definitions, weak standards of proof, and are perhaps the most racially discriminatory part of our criminal justice system: 92% of people with gang enhancements in California are people of color. The bill was heard in Senate Public Safety and passed out 4-1.
“Everyone deserves due process. It is simple as that,” said Senator Kamlager. “I’m encouraged to see AB 333 pass out of committee today. By ensuring gang enhancements are only used when necessary and fair, we’re closer to creating a fair application of the law for everyone.”
AB 124: Justice for Survivors was also heard in Senate Public Safety this morning. The bill will require courts to take into account a myriad of factors aimed at supporting survivors of violence, including intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking during sentencing and re-sentencing.
This can include age, impacts of trauma, and stages of development. The bill was heard in Senate Public Safety and passed out 4-0.
“Our criminal courts system was designed by the patriarchy and it shows in how women are sentenced and punished,” added Senator Kamlager. “AB124 passing out of committee today brings us closer to acknowledging the role sexual abuse plays in criminal behavior and ending the abuse-to-prison pipeline.”
Lastly, AB 118: The Community Response Initiative to Strengthen Emergency Systems (CRISES) Act was heard in the Senate Governmental Organization Committee. The bill, which Secured $10 million in funding in the state budget last week, would create a grant program to support community-based alternatives to police response during 911 calls. It passed out of committee in a bipartisan vote of 13-1.
“Community crises deserve community responses,” the Senator continued. “We’ve seen just how dangerous the go-to approach of calling the police can be during local emergencies, and I’m thrilled to see AB 118 advance. The CRISES Act is poised to usher in transformative change if entered into law.”
Senator Kamlager’s criminal justice legislation is a critical component of her legislative package.