The Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee is scheduled to hear AB 2839 which, if passed, would disenfranchise hundreds of men who are otherwise eligible to vote and have been designated sexually violent predators at Coalinga State Hospital.
The hearing will take place on May 9 at 9 a.m. in Room 444 of the State Capitol.
“ACSOL encourages its members to attend this hearing in order to protect the voting rights of almost one thousand registrants,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci.
AB 2839 was introduced by Assembly member Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) who represents a district that includes both the City of Coalinga as well as Coalinga State Hospital. Specifically, the bill would require Coalinga patients to vote in the location where they lived prior to their commitment to the state hospital.
“Because many patients at Coalinga Hospital have been incarcerated or civilly committed for 30 years or more and they are likely to live the rest of their lives at the hospital,” stated Bellucci. “If they are not allowed to vote in Coalinga city elections, they will be disenfranchised.”
Dr. Arambula introduced AB 2839 after patients at Coalinga State hospital defeated a City of Coalinga measure that would have increased city sales tax by one percent. The Coalinga State Hospital patients pay Coalinga City sales tax when they purchase items at a hospital store and restaurant.
The legislation also follows a lawsuit filed by the City of Coalinga against Fresno County which attempts to invalidate past votes taken by Coalinga patients as well as to prevent future votes in city elections. A court hearing on this matter is scheduled in Fresno Superior Court on April 27.