Big Advance for the Safety of People with Disabilities

Our bill to begin to revolutionize law enforcement agencies’ response to major crimes against people with disabilities is on Governor Newsom’s desk for signature.

Senator Ben Hueso’s Senate Bill 338 [http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB338] passed the entire legislative process without a single “no” vote.

It calls on local police and sheriff’s departments to adopted tough, detailed policies prioritizing enforcement of laws protecting adults and children with disabilities, and all seniors, from abuse and neglect, sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking, anti-disability hate crimes, and homicide.

The new policies would require officer training in handling these sometimes-difficult cases, investigation of every report, and mandatory arrests and emergency protective orders.

It’s called the Senior and Disability Justice Act and is sponsored by the California Alliance for Retired Americas, the McGeorge Law School’s Elder Law Clinic, and the Arc & United Cerebral Palsy California Collaboration.

By allying with the senior groups and putting seniors first in the bill’s name and in advocacy efforts, we assured much wider support than we could have gotten with a disability-only bill. Politicians like to be seen doing things for seniors because there are so many of them and they vote.

The next steps are to ask Governor Newsom to sign the bill, and then for the Commission on Peace Officer Standard and training to develop a strong model policy based on the bill for local law enforcement agencies to adopt.

Here’s a link to our letter to Newsom asking for his signature.

 

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