The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 1, 2012
Jerry Brown vetoes bill aimed at arming California state hospital police

Thumbnail image for 120514 Jerry Brown budget presser Amezcua.jpgGov. 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."

Earlier drafts of Assembly Bill 2623 by Michael Allen, D-Santa Rosa, would have simply authorized the officers to carry guns.

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

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Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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