Unless you have been under a rock, you have read about how Assembly Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina) has has been charged with the crime of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Now, for the sake of argument, let’s pretend that Assemblyman Hernandez forgot about the Assembly rule which prohibits members of the legislature from taking state-owned vehicles beyond the Sacramento area without prior permission. Hernandez was in a State Assembly “pool car” that he drove from the State Capitol. Let’s also say Hernandez was simply naive, believing that state-owned vehicles are supposed to be at his disposal for his late night escapades (according to news account, when he was arrested and taken into custody, there was a female in the car with him).
While we’re at it, let’s also say Assemblyman Hernandez was “flashing back” to his college days at U.C. Riverside, where it was okay be out and about at 2:06 a.m. on a work-day, way down in Contra Costa County some 83 miles from the State Capitol, even though he knew had to be up and ready for work at 9 a.m. that same day. And, let’s also give Hernandez the benefit of the doubt when he said he thought he was sober enough to drive, even though the Concord Police thought otherwise, leading to Assemblyman Hernandez spending the night in jail. Of course he was not sober, and he was, in fact, above the legal limit, leading to the fore-mentioned charges by the Contra Costa County District Attorney.
Here’s where Naive meets Dumb:
So, even after being charged with two misdemeanors for drunk driving, Assemblyman Hernandez has gone ahead with his plans for AB 2127, a bill that would allow someone’s everyday job to be considered “confinement credit.” What’s that mean, well, in other words, those who are convicted of a serious offense, such as DUI, would be allowed to apply hours from their regular work as community service to reduce their jail time. That certainly would remove the sting from our current practice of performing community service in a work release program, especially for people like himself.
We’ve all seen these DUI and other offenders carrying out judges’ orders in labor programs instead of jail time, knocking out tasks such as picking up roadside litter, graffiti removal, or other community service. According to California Penal Code 4034.2: each day of participation in such a work release program can be traded for a day of jail confinement.
But Assemblyman Hernandez’ bill would actually allow an offender to trade their own 8-hour work day as a day of confinement credit. Meaning Hernandez could potentially serve time, and be punished, by reporting to work in the state Assembly. How convenient for him.
Even with his own DUI charges still working their way through the legal system, Assemblyman Hernandez is continuing to push the self-serving bill, a bill that would allow him, as well as other members of the Capitol ‘Deuce Club’ (which include the Governor’s Finance Director and a former Assembly Republican Leader) to “work” at their government jobs, including attending their own thousand dollar fundraisers, without having to bother with such pesky tasks as roadside trash pickup or grafitti cleanup assignments. Does this make any sense to you?
This bill will be heard before the Senate Public Safety Committee today. One has to wonder if Hernandez might try to make this into an urgency bill, so that it can go into effect as soon as it passes and is signed by the Governor. If he can do that, he can “work off” his DUI sentence before this legislative session is over.