Acosta is one for three on public-safety bills

Dante Acosta at a press conference in October 2016. Katharine Lotze/Signal

One of three public-safety bills introduced by Assemblyman Dante Acosta in February passed through committee Tuesday morning.

Assembly Bill 539, which would give law enforcement the right to seek a court-ordered warrant for invasion of privacy cases, crossed party lines and will go to the full assembly for consideration.

The bill is aimed to help victims of “revenge porn,” where sexual videos or images are made public online when privacy was expected by the victim.  While this is already illegal, law enforcement does not currently have the right to seek a warrant to gather evidence, Acosta’s office said.

“I am working to give law enforcement the tools it needs to keep Californians safe in this digital age,” Acosta said in a statement to The Signal. “AB 539 has so far received bi-partisan support because it recognizes that the legislature has already defined the crimes in question, but did not address the tools needed to enforce those laws. All Californians share a desire for justice and this bill gives our justice system the tools it needs to enforce the law.”

Assembly Bill 539 will likely go to the full assembly in June.

Acosta’s other two bills discussed by committee the same morning did not move forward and died in committee, as each was divided by Republicans who voted in favor and Democrats who voted against.

If passed, Assembly Bill 537 would have reclassified some crimes currently categorized as “non-serious” as “serious,” such as child abuse that results in death and taking hostages as human shields.

That bill sought to address a gap in AB 109, a state law that allows criminals guilty of non-violent felonies to go to county facilities, making them eligible for early release.

Additionally, Assembly Bill 538 was rejected Tuesday, which would have required those who receive an aggregate sentence of over three years for felonies to serve their sentences in state prison instead of county jail.

“I came to Sacramento to stand up for our community and to find where I could identify common ground to make our region safer, help the needy and improve quality of life for all Californians,” Acosta said. “I promised the 38th district that I would fight for public safety.”

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