Chiu Criminal Justice Reform Bills Pass Public Safety Committee

Legislation to require local approval prior to law enforcement procuring military equipment among the measures to advance

For immediate release:

Sacramento, CA—Three bills authored by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee today. The bills would address the militarization of local law enforcement, the uptick in hate crimes, and deportations based on faulty convictions.

Assembly Bill 481, which advanced to today, would curb the trend towards increasingly militarized local police departments. A 2019 study of the United States Department of Defense’s 1033 Program that allows local law enforcement to acquire military equipment found that increased militarization can lead to an increased use in force. The bill would require local law enforcement agencies to get authorization from their local governing bodies before acquiring military equipment.

“Our streets in California are not war zones, and our citizens are not enemy combatants,” said Assemblymember Chiu. “Law enforcement are our community partners in public safety. They are not military generals, and the weapons and equipment they use should reflect that reality. If we learned anything from last summer’s protests, it is that local communities should have a say in how they are policed. This bill gives residents a voice.”

Assembly Bill 886, which Assemblymember Chiu recently became the author of after the previous author Attorney General Rob Bonta left the legislature, aims to address the scourge of recent hate crimes and provide more resources to victims of hate crimes. Specifically, the bill supports victims of hate violence by creating culturally competent, mental health programs and restorative justice programs.

“This bill provides a multi-pronged approach to addressing the appalling rise in hate crimes targeting our API communities,” said Assemblymember Chiu. “Victims need culturally competent, holistic services, and this bill gives victims that support.”

Assembly Bill 1259, which passed the committee today, works to keep families together and prevent deportations based on old, invalid criminal convictions. AB 1259 would expand an existing post-conviction appeals process to immigrant defendants who were unaware of the immigration consequences of the charges levied against them and were convicted by trials. 

“We should not be tearing families apart and deporting individuals who have paid their debt to society after invalid convictions,” said Assemblymember Chiu. “This bill keeps families together, ensures the law is applied equally, and protects the constitutional right to a trial.”

All three bills are expected to move on for hearings in the Assembly Appropriations Committee in the coming weeks.