Assembly Bill 168, authored by Assembly-members Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber), Cathleen Galgiani (D-Livingston), and Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo), was defeated in the Assembly Public Safety Committee today with all Democrats on the Committee voting NO. AB 168 is a bipartisan bill that allows for critical public safety funding, even after the additional vehicle license fee (VLF) expires in July. It creates a one-time appropriation of just over $500 million from the state's general fund to support the current local law enforcement activities that would otherwise be interrupted with the scheduled sunset of the state vehicle license fee.
"Funding for public safety has been and should remain the top priority for California government," stated Nielsen. "Despite our current budget deficit, nothing is more important than ensuring that our local law enforcement has the funding and tools needed to protect our communities, ensure justice, and keep our families safe. It is unfortunate that, after all the talk from legislative Democrats about working with Republicans toward solutions, this bill, which has bi-partisan support and authorship, was killed in committee today."
AB 168 was supported by all the major law enforcement organizations, such as the California State Sheriffs' Association, the California Police Chiefs Association, the California Peace Officers Association, the California District Attorneys Association, and the State Coalition of Probation Organizations. There was no opposition to AB 168, but was killed on a strict party line vote.
"This is an issue on which both sides should be in complete agreement. Funding for our local law enforcement is going to end in less than two months. This bill deserves to remain in consideration as a part of the upcoming budget discussions. Many other budget related bills have been allowed to remain alive, and this bill should also," concluded Nielsen.