This week we commemorate the 40th anniversary of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. First established by President Reagan in 1981, this week highlights public observance and awareness of the rights of crime victims while promoting policies and programs that support these victims and help them seek peace and justice.
As a new member of the State Assembly and a sitting member of the Assembly Committee on Public Safety, it is frustrating to listen to proposals that move California further away from protecting the rights of crime victims, and instead focus on giving special treatment or even a pass to some of the most violent criminals.
In these few short months since session began, we have seen some blatantly outrageous proposals in the name of public safety.
These bills have covered ideas from expanding early release programs, reducing or eliminating gang crime penalties, eliminating bail, reducing parole, giving good conduct credits to violent felons and felons sentenced under our enhancement laws, and even permitting murderers to have their death or LWOP (life without parole) sentences overturned by a judge.
Having served communities responding to crime scenes that were truly horrific, I cannot support the idea of rewarding criminals and violent offenders.
In my efforts to represent our district and the families that call it home, I am proud to author or support legislation that focuses on the VICTIMS rights, including:
- AB 409 (Seyarto) would allow victims and witnesses of gang crimes to petition law enforcement to redact their identities if they feel that their life could be in serious danger because of their role in reporting information related to a crime.
- AB 18 and AB 925 address the backlog of unprocessed rape kits, setting a timeline for processing and reimbursing local costs so we can catch the perpetrators faster.
- AB 547 expands notice to victims of domestic violence of the location of their perpetrator, and AB 673 ensures that domestic violence shelters receive more immediate funding to assist survivors.
- AB 262 assists victims of human trafficking by giving them more vacatur relief in court.
- AB 308 provides regional funding to vehicle burglary and theft task forces.
Public safety must always be a top priority for our Government! I will continue to fight for the rights of crime victims. Please join me in recognizing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.