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The Successful Passing of SB 296 Aims to Safeguard Code Enforcement Officers

This bill, known as “SB 296: Code Enforcement Officer Safety Standards,” went into effect on October 7, 2021, to address the escalating concern for the safety of code enforcement officers. These professionals, who are not peace officers, are charged with enforcing health, safety, and welfare requirements and possess the authority to issue citations or file formal complaints.

Unanimous Approval Makes Law

As the volunteer legislative director of the statewide code enforcement group that authored this bill, Civica Law’s Founding Partner, Matthew Silver, headed a committee of volunteers and partner organizations in pursuing this first-of-its-kind legislation, receiving unanimous approval from the State Legislature and becoming law across California. 

In response to the alarming rise in hazardous conditions and violence faced by code enforcement officers, the bill mandates that local jurisdictions employing these officers develop and implement appropriate safety standards. 

The bill added section 829.7 to the California Penal Code, which specifies:

“Each local jurisdiction that employs code enforcement officers shall develop code enforcement officer safety standards appropriate for the code enforcement officers employed in their jurisdiction.”

The introduction of new duties on local jurisdictions constitutes a state-mandated local program. Therefore, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that state-mandated costs are inherent in the bill, reimbursement will ensue under statutory provisions.  Public agencies should submit for reimbursement and update us with their findings.

Matthew Silver

Founding Partner

“I’m deeply honored to have collaborated with the legislative group that crafted this bill, a seminal development for the code enforcement profession and, by extension, the communities they safeguard.” 

The Groundwork for Nationwide Change is Set

Matthew hopes this groundbreaking law will set a precedent for other states, inspiring them to adopt similar mandates. Code enforcement officers, the versatile linchpins and unsung heroes of every jurisdiction, merit protection while safeguarding others.

Every team member at Civica Law is a staunch advocate for SB 296. This bill has not only established safety standards for code enforcement officers in California but also laid the groundwork for a change nationwide.

Civica Law is committed to ensuring that devoted code enforcement officers receive the support and protection required to fulfill their indispensable roles in upholding health, safety, and welfare standards.  We must protect those who protect communities to ensure they can continue their noble work and encourage others to enter this profession.

About the Author

  • Civica Law

    With over 75 collective years of experience, Civica Law has helped cities and counties abate thousands of dangerous and substandard properties, improve housing conditions, and effectively deal with a wide range of quality-of-life issues, from homeless encampments to cannabis, drug, and gang dens to illegal gambling (or tap-tap) facilities, illegal business operations, human trafficking and massage, land use, and zoning, and virtually every other conceivable quality of life and safety issue a public agency may face.

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