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Senate Minority Leader Jones's Sexually Violent Predator Accountability, Fairness, and Enforcement Act passes Assembly Public Safety Committee

SAFE Act has strong bipartisan support

SACRAMENTO – Last night, the California Assembly Public Safety Committee unanimously approved Senate Minority Leader Brian W. Jones’s (R-San Diego) bipartisan Senate Bill 1074, called the “Sexually Violent Predator Accountability, Fairness, and Enforcement Act” (SAFE Act).

“We are thankful that the Assembly Public Safety Committee understands the need to protect our communities from dangerous sexually violent predators,” said Leader Jones. “SVPs have committed such heinous and violent sex crimes that I argue they should never be released from prison. However, when a court orders their release, we have a duty to ensure the safety of our communities. The SAFE Act, together with our ongoing audit, will help fix this broken and alarming predator release program. We are hoping to keep up the momentum in Assembly Appropriations and the Assembly Floor and get this critical public safety legislation to the governor’s desk.”

The SAFE Act aims to prevent the Newsom Administration from secretly dumping SVPs into family-friendly neighborhoods with no regard for public safety. Specifically, SB 1074 would:

1. Require that the Department of State Hospitals (DSH) ensures its vendor (Liberty Healthcare) considers public safety when placing SVPs; and

2. Require the DSH to take ownership in the placement process by approving any placements BEFORE the vendor can sign any leases for placement locations. This will help prevent the DSH vendor (Liberty Healthcare) from wasting tax dollars on premature leases for SVPs.

During the July 3 Committee hearing, two witnesses testified in support of the SAFE Act: Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire and Erica Farmer, a neighbor of a recently proposed SVP placement in Stanislaus County. Additional neighborhood advocates spoke in support of the measure.

The SAFE Act unanimously passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee on an 8-0 vote. The measure next heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration.

The SAFE Act is co authored by Senators Marie Alvarado-Gil (D-Jackson), Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), Janet Nguyen (R-Huntington Beach), Roger W. Niello (R-Fair Oaks), Kelly Seyarto (R-Murrieta), and Assemblymembers Juan Alanis (R-Modesto), Megan Dahle (R-Bieber), Joe Patterson (R-Rocklin), Marie Waldron (R-Valley Center), Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), and Bill Essayli (R-Corona).

Leader Jones has been a trailblazer in fighting SVP placements in San Diego County for years. Last year, Leader Jones secured an audit of Liberty Healthcare, the state contractor responsible for overseeing placements of SVPs. The audit results are expected to be released in Fall 2024.

Sexually violent predators are convicted of a sexually violent offense and diagnosed with a mental disorder that predisposes them to be a danger to others with a high likelihood to reoffend. When a court orders their conditional release, DSH allows their vendor, Liberty Healthcare, the freedom to house SVPs in unsuspecting communities across California. A new report indicates that housing a single SVP costs taxpayers over $456,000 annually.


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