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Senate Bill 1034

This bill will add sections to Public Resources Code Section 5097.5 to strengthen existing California State law regarding criminal penalties and restitution for crimes of archaeological site vandalism, theft of archaeological materials or artifacts in curation facilities, and damages to historic buildings and other cultural properties.

The key provisions of the bill (1) provides the courts with professionally recognized standards by which restitution for damage to archaeological sites can be determined. The bill provides the legal means by which state agencies can recover the full costs of damages caused by criminal actions at archaeological sites and other cultural properties. (2) introduces the concepts of "archaeological value" and "commercial value," defines them, and specifies the professional standards by which determinations of archaeological value and commercial value will be made. These critical provisions are not specified in current state law. (3) defines what constitutes costs of restoration and repair of archaeological resources damaged by criminal actions, and identifies the principal elements of restoration and repair work. Current state laws do not provide any definition of restoration and repair. (4) contains a section about forfeiture of the artifacts and archaeological resources involved in the criminal action, vehicles used in the crimes, and any tools. (5) has no impact upon the state budget. (6) The bill brings greater parity between federal law and state law. There is a great need for equivalence in law to avoid confusion among peace officers and the courts about what laws to apply and how to apply them.

Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny is carrying the Bill; the Society for California Archaeology is a sponsor, and several other organizations have expressed support of it. Dr. Susan Hector and Michael Sampson wrote the bill to closely follow federal law, specifically the 1979 Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA). It has now gone to the State Assembly, but as of this writing, has not yet been assigned to committees in the Assembly.

Volume 41 - 2010

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