Legislation

Matt's Law in California
Bill Number: SB 1454 ENROLLED

BILL TEXT

PASSED THE SENATE - AUGUST 30, 2006
PASSED THE ASSEMBLY - AUGUST 24, 2006

INTRODUCED BY Senator Torlakson
(Coauthor: Senator Aanestad)
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Wolk)

February 23, 2006

An act to amend Section 48900 of, and to repeal Sections 32050 and 32051 of the Education Code, and to add Section 245.6 to the Penal Code, relating to hazing.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST

SB 1454, as introduced, Torlakson Crimes: hazing.

Existing law codifies within the Education Code the definition of hazing and proscribes criminal penalties for people who haze.

This bill would repeal the Education Code hazing provisions and instead codify within the Penal Code the definition of hazing and proscribe misdemeanor penalties for people or organizations who haze and felony penalties for hazing which results in death, great bodily injury, or great psychological injury. This bill would also prohibit prosecution for hazing against the person who was hazed and allows him or her to bring a civil action against the perpetrator(s) of the hazing.

Because this bill would expand the definition of a crime, it would impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: yes.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. Section 32050 of the Education Code is repealed.

32050. As used in this article, "hazing" includes any method of initiation or preinitiation into a student organization or student body or any pastime or amusement engaged in with respect to these organizations which causes, or is likely to cause, bodily danger, physical harm, or personal degradation or disgrace resulting in physical or mental harm, to any pupil or other person attending any school, community college, college, university, or other educational institution in this state. The term "hazing" does not include customary athletic events or other similar contests or competitions.


SEC. 2. Section 32051 of the Education Code is repealed.

32051. No student, or other person in attendance at any public, private, parochial, or military school, community college, college, or other educational institution, shall conspire to engage in hazing, participate in hazing, or commit any act that causes or is likely to cause bodily danger, physical harm, or personal degradation or disgrace resulting in physical or mental harm to any fellow student or person attending the institution.

The violation of this section is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100), nor more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or both.


SEC. 3. Section 245.6 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

245.6. (a) This section shall be known and may be cited as "Matt's Law" in memory of Matthew William Carrington, who died on February 2, 2005 as a result of hazing.

(b) As used in this section "hazing" or "haze" is conduct which causes, or is likely to cause, bodily danger, physical harm, or personal degradation or disgrace resulting in physical or mental harm to another person in the course of the other person's preinitiation into, initiation into, affiliation with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in any organization. The terms "hazing" or "haze" do not include customary athletic, fire department, police department, military, or quasi-military training, conditioning, or similar events or activities.

(c) Any person who hazes or conspires to participate in hazing is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100), nor more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by both fine and imprisonment.

(d) Any person who hazes or conspires to participate in hazingwhich results in death, great bodily injury, or great psychologicalinjury is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the stateprison.

(e) An organization is guilty of violating subdivisions (b) or (c) if the organization's agents, directors, trustees, managers, or officers authorized, requested, commanded, encouraged, participated in, ratified, or tolerated the hazing.

(f) The implied or expressed consent of the person or persons against whom the hazing was directed shall not be a defense to any action brought under this section.

(g) This section does not apply to the person against whom the hazing was directed.

(h) This section shall not, in any manner, limit or exclude pros-ecution or punishment for any other crime or any civil remedy.

(i) The person against whom the hazing is directed may commence a civil action for injury or damages, including mental and physical pain and suffering that results from the hazing. The action may be brought against any participants in the hazing, or any organization whose agents, directors, trustees, managers, or officers authorized, requested, commanded, encouraged, participated in, ratified, or tolerated the hazing. If the organization is a corporation, whether for profit or not, the individual directors of the corporation maybe held individually liable for damages.


SEC. 4. No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.

For more information about Matt Carrington and updates on Matt's Law go to www.wemissyoumatt.com.