Newly Identified Mandate: Crime Statistics Reports for the Department of Justice (DOJ). In June 2008, the Commission on State Mandates (CSM) found that the state must reimburse local governments for specified costs associated with fulfilling certain reporting requirements under state law. (These requirements were subsequently amended in July 2009.) Specifically, CSM defined the following as state-reimbursable mandates:
Hate Crimes. Reporting to DOJ information related to hate crimes.
Homicides. Reporting to DOJ certain demographic information about victims of and persons charged with homicide.
Firearms. Reporting to DOJ certain demographic information about persons charged with specified firearms offenses. This requirement was repealed on January 1, 2005.
Domestic Violence. Producing a written incident report for each domestic violence-related call for assistance. (Two existing state-reimbursable mandates require the state to pay local governments for other costs associated with recording information related to domestic violence-related calls for assistance and reporting statistics to DOJ. These mandates have been suspended in recent years.)
Mandate Costs. Based on data from the State Controller’s Office (SCO), we estimate that the accrued cost of adhering to these four requirements was about $146 million from fiscal years 2001-02 through 2010-11, with ongoing costs of about $17.4 million per year. The requirement relating to firearms offenses was repealed on January 1, 2005, so claimants are only eligible for reimbursement up until that date for costs related to that part of the mandate.
According to SCO, the requirement to produce domestic violence incident reports represents the vast majority of the total cost of the combined mandate. Based on SCO’s claims data, we estimate that about $144 million of the $146 million accrued cost through 2010-11 is associated with domestic violence incident report requirements, as is about $17.2 million of the $17.4 million annual in ongoing costs.
Governor Proposes Repealing Mandates. The Governor’s 2012-13 budget includes the suspension and repeal of the three requirements in this mandate program that remain in statute. This would allow the state to avoid paying in the budget year about $146 million of costs accrued through 2010-11 and about $17.4 million in ongoing reimbursements. The state would still be liable for the accrued costs but would not be required to pay them in 2012-13.
In addition, the Governor’s proposed trailer bill language repeals the domestic violence requirements covered under prior CSM decisions. The proposed language also deletes a current requirement that DOJ report aggregated statistics it collects from local law enforcement about the total number of domestic violence calls received and the weapons involved. This requirement of DOJ is not a state-reimbursable local mandate and was not included in any of CSM’s mandate decisions.
Federal Funds Possibly Affected. The DOJ is responsible for collecting hate crime and homicide statistics from local law enforcement agencies and reporting that information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). According to the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) which administers some federal criminal justice grant funds, failure to report complete hate crime and homicide statistics to the FBI may jeopardize some of the state’s allocation of these federal funds. In 2011, CalEMA reports that California received $41 million of these funds ($26 million to the state, $15 million directly to local entities). Conversely, the current statutory requirement to produce domestic violence incident reports is not tied to any federal funding.
LAO Recommendation. We recommend the Legislature make several changes to the Governor's proposal related to this mandate. We recommend the Legislature maintain the two requirements related to the reporting of hate crime and homicide statistics. Because some federal funds that come to the state—including grants made directly to local entities—may be jeopardized if some local agencies do not report these statistics, and given that they represent a relatively modest state cost, we believe it is in the best fiscal interest of the state to maintain these requirements. We also recommend the Legislature make optional, rather than delete, the requirement that local law enforcement agencies produce domestic violence incident reports, thereby eliminating this state-reimbursable mandate.
Further, we recommend not deleting other sections of the domestic violence reporting statutes that would be deleted under the Governor’s proposal. Instead, we recommend maintaining the requirement that DOJ report domestic violence statistics (which is not a state-reimbursable mandate), and we recommend making optional the provisions related to collection and reporting of domestic violence-related information. Based on our conversations with stakeholders, these statistics are valuable for tracking domestic violence trends throughout the state.
Specifically, we recommend:
Modifying the Governor’s proposed trailer bill language to (1) leave intact the hate crime and homicide reporting requirements, (2) make optional the requirements related to producing a written incident report for each domestic violence-related call for assistance, (3) make optional the requirements that local law enforcement record certain information related to these calls and report domestic violence statistics to DOJ, (4) leave intact the requirement that DOJ report domestic violence statistics, and (5) direct CSM to modify its parameters and guidelines for this mandate program to allow local governments to submit future claims only for the hate crime and homicide reporting requirements that would not be eliminated under our proposal.
Modifying budget bill language to (1) suspend just the portion of this mandate specifically related to the domestic violence incident reports and (2) augment Item 8885-295-0001 by $1.8 million to pay the costs accrued through 2010-11 associated with the hate crime and homicide reporting requirements that would not be repealed under our proposal.