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Unanimous Safe Act Win


Last updated 5/17/2024 at 8:12pm

On May 16, the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved Senate Minority Leader Brian W. Jones’s (R-San Diego) bipartisan Senate Bill 1074, the “Sexually Violent Predator Accountability, Fairness, and Enforcement Act” (SAFE Act).

“The SAFE Act is designed to protect our neighborhoods and families from dangerous sexually violent predators, perpetrators of some of the most horrendous and violent sex crimes,” said Leader Jones.

“We are thankful that the Senate Appropriations Committee understands the need to protect our communities while also reducing wasteful spending by the state contractor, Liberty Healthcare, which oversees the release of dangerous sexually violent predators. This measure is the first step towards fixing this broken and alarming predator release program.”

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:

- Make public safety the highest criterion of any potential placement of an SVP, a factor that is shockingly not currently required when releasing SVPs; and

- Require the Department of State Hospitals (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.

In April of this year, the Senate Public Safety Committee unanimously approved the Senate Bill.

Sexually violent predators are persons convicted of at least one sexually violent offense and diagnosed with a mental disorder that predisposes them to be a danger to others with a high likelihood to re-offend. 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.

The SAFE Act passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee on a 7 – 0 vote with amendments that have “technical and clarifying changes to codify DSH’s existing practices.” The measure now heads to the Senate Floor for consideration by the entire body.

The SAFE Act is coauthored 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), and Marie Waldron (R-Valley Center).

The SAFE Act is the third bipartisan SVP bill Leader Jones has authored in the last three years. The measure is similar to Leader Jones’s bipartisan SB 832 from last year, and the bipartisan SB 841 from two years ago. Hundreds of Californians have signed the petition to support SB 1074.

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.

What they’re saying

“As a state legislator dedicated to the safety and well-being of my district and California as a whole, I stand firmly in support of SB 1074. This bill not only prioritizes public safety as the paramount concern in deciding the placement of Sexually Violent Predators – it also ensures accountability by mandating the Department of State Hospitals’ approval before any placement occurs. We cannot allow secrecy to jeopardize the safety of our neighborhoods. SB 1074 is a vital step towards transparency and responsible governance.”

– Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil (D-Jackson)

“Senate Bill 1074, The SAFE Act, aims to put responsibility back to where it should be – on the Department of State Hospitals. They determine when an SVP is released, and therefore should be responsible for ensuring our communities are safe. I’m pleased that the Senate Public Safety Committee agrees and moved the measure forward today.”

– Butte County District Attorney Michael L. Ramsey

“I’m thrilled that our state will be holding the Department of State Hospitals responsible and putting common sense measures into place. I’m very grateful for Senator Jones and his persistence in helping our communities stay SAFE.”

– Sarah Thompson, Mother and Founder of Kid Safe California