Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a measure that would have required the state to establish a plan to allow hospital police officers to carry guns.
The director of the Department of State Hospitals sets the gun policy for a combined 800 facility police statewide. Currently, those officers cannot carry firearms while on duty.
Brown said in his veto message that the policy is "best left to the discretion of the department director who already has authority to arm its officers."
The hospital cops' union, the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association, for years has argued to arm its members because they perform dangerous duty both on and off facility grounds.
Had it passed, the bill also could have increased the affected employees' pay and pensions, according to a state analysis, by creating a "new class of peace officers" who could have pressed for higher compensation in keeping with their new responsibilities.
The California Association of Psychiatric Technicians, which represents about 6,000 employees who provide patient care at the facilities, opposed the earlier version of the measure that simply armed hospital police officers. The watered-down bill that the Legislature sent to Brown on a combined 113-1 vote would have required the departments to come up with a policy to arm facility cops by Jan. 1, 2014.
Here's Brown's veto message:
AB 2623 veto message