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california legislation > AB 316

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Date of Hearing: April 13, 2011

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
Felipe Fuentes, Chair

AB 316 (Carter) - As Amended: March 30, 2011

Policy Committee:Public
SafetyVote: 7-0

Urgency: No State Mandated Local Program:
Yes Reimbursable: No

SUMMARY

This bill adds theft of copper material to the list of offenses
for which there is a lower monetary requirement to charge an
offender with grand theft. Specifically, this bill states theft
of copper materials, including, but not limited to, copper wire,
copper cable, copper tubing, and copper piping, of a value
exceeding $250, may be charged as grand theft, punishable by up
to one year in county jail, or 16 months, 2 or 3 years in state
prison.

(Under current law theft of similar materials with a value of
less than $950 would be considered petty theft, punishable by up
to six months in county jail.)

FISCAL EFFECT

Unknown but potentially significant annual GF costs - in excess
of $250,000 if only five persons per year are committed to state
prison as a result of this bill - for increased state prison
commitments.

For order of magnitude purposes, in 2009 and 2010, about 3,000
individuals were committed to state prison for grand theft. The
state does track the type of materials that were stolen.

COMMENTS

1)Rationale
. Proponents (including law enforcement and the Farm
Bureau) contend the theft of copper materials from farms,
ranches, construction sites, schools, etc., causes such
significant damage that the value constituting a felony should








AB 316
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be reduced from $950 to $250.

2)Opponents, including the ACLU, suggest $950 is an appropriate
threshold, noting this threshold took effect just this year,
via AB 2372 (Ammiano), which raised the threshold from $400 to
$950 to adjust for 20 years of inflation.

3)Current law
defines grand theft as any theft where the money,
labor, or real or personal property taken or when the property
is taken from the person of another is of a value exceeding
$950, except in specified circumstances, such as when domestic
fowls, avocados, or other farm crops with a value exceeding
$250 are taken, or when fish or other aquacultural products
with a value exceeding $250 are taken from a commercial
operation.

Analysis Prepared by : Geoff Long / APPR. / (916) 319-2081