Newly elected Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert has announced the creation of a “speaker’s bureau,” which will allow members of the District Attorney office to speak at functions upon request. It is an attempt by the District Attorney’s office to meet and spend more time in the community. Apparently, over 135 staff members of the office have volunteered to participate in this program. The list of staff members include Ms. Shubert, her chief deputies, criminalist, investigators, deputy district attorneys and even paralegals.
Staff members are expected to speak at events for business organizations, faith based organizations, community groups, etc. The District Attorney’s office is asking for at least 4 week’s notice to speak at any events.
Ms. Shubert was elected District Attorney in 2014 with heavy support from law enforcement and former District Attorney Jan Scully. She began serving her term in January 2015. The speaker’s bureau is a part of the Community & Government Relations Unit, a unit also newly created by D.A Schubert. Ms. Shubert has made involvement in the community one of her main goals with her time in office. According to the District Attorneys website, the government relations unit “will take a proactive role in shaping laws that impact public safety.” She is currently also a sponsor of Assembly Bill 390 currently before lawmaker’s right down the street in California’s State Capitol.
Adrin Nazarian is putting forward a new bill in the California State Assembly that would add new regulations on drivers of Uber & Lyft, regulations that taxi cab drivers currently are required to abide by. These regulations include a Department of Justice criminal background check, drug testing and enrollment in a program through the California Department of Motor Vehicles that would automatically inform the two companies if the driver was arrested for a DUI.
Assemblyman Nazarian put forward a similar bill last year, but it never made it through the committee stage. Nazarian claims it was due to intense lobbying from companies involved in transportation. The crux of the issue is whether these drivers should be treated as taxi cab drivers or whether a lesser standard applies. Numerous lawmakers throughout the world have dealt with this issue. The concept that Uber & Lyft advocate is comparable to the Craigslist website advertising ride shares. No legislature is considering regulating Craigslist of such activities and uber/lyft are simply performing the same function. Lawmakers remain unconvinced, but Uber and Lyft have proved formidable adversaries with their billion dollar budgets and influence in Silicon Valley, which translates to influence in Washington D.C.
Studies have shown that the prevalence of Uber and Lyft has decreased the number of DUI arrests. There appears to be no evidence that a driver of lyft or uber has ever been involved in a DUI arrest while providing rides, nor has there been any issue of accidents due to an amateur driver being under the influence of drugs. There have been reports of violence though, making the criminal background check the most logical need next step in regulations designed to keep the ride-sharing websites successful and safe for the general public.