Sen. Fuller, BPD address school threats

Posted at 1:38 PM, Jan 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-22 21:30:52-05

Senator Republican Leader Jean Fuller told 23ABC that a bill she introduced last year, SB 110, that would have helped to tackle the school threats that happened in Bakersfield, and across the nation, this week.

The bill had votes from democrats and republicans and made it to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk, but the governor vetoed the bill.

“When I took it to the governor’s office they said it can already be taken care of without a new law, yet as you see the incidents are still happening across the nation and it’s becoming an even bigger issue, way beyond Bakersfield,” said Fuller.

The Governor’s Veto Message stated:

“I am returning Senate Bill 110 without my signature.

No one could be anything but intolerant of threats to cause great bodily injury, especially on school grounds. Certainly not legislators, who voted nearly unanimously for this bill.

While I’m sympathetic and utterly committed to ensuring maximum safety for California’s school children, the offensive conduct covered by this bill is already illegal.

In recent decades, California has created an unprecedented number of new and detailed criminal laws. Before we keep enacting more, I think we should pause and reflect on the fact that our bulging criminal code now contains excess of 5,000 separate provisions, covering almost every conceivable form of human misbehavior.”

Fuller told 23ABC after Gov. Brown vetoed the bill she went to the governor's office to see what changes he may like to see so that he wouldn’t veto it the next time it was presented, but she said she hasn’t heard a response.

“It’s not going to go away, as a former school superintendent, I know you sort of have to catch people and give them some consequences and make people understand it’s not a joke and it isn’t just a free day off. It hurts everybody in the community.”

The Bakersfield Police Department was one group that endorsed the bill. Sergeant Gary Carruesco from BPD said the bill would’ve helped them with the threats Bakersfield saw this week.

“It was school specific, it encompassed threats and digital threats you know by electronic means, but it also gave us the power to arrest somebody if the threat was made against a school or school children,” said Sgt. Carruesco.

Opponents of the bill argue that minors should be disciplined through community- based services as an alternative to incarceration. It also cites Penal Code Section 422, which addresses threat crimes, which include those made through electronic means.

“422, just basically covers threats to an individual and, or their immediate family. The SB 110 included schools in that section which gave us a little bit broader base by which we can use to investigate a crime and make an arrest,” said Sgt. Carruesco.

Senator Fuller said she is thinking about reintroducing the bill in the future.

In an email to 23ABC Debroah Hoffman, the Deputy Press Secretary for Gov. Brown, said "The Governor will carefully consider any bill that makes it to his desk."

Sgt. Carruesco said they are continuing to investigate the bomb threats and have traced the number to a Skype call. They are now preparing search warrants to further investigate who used the Skype service to make the calls.