Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would require licensing, background checks and better training of security guards in California.
In a letter to California Assembly Members, Brown said he was returning the bill, AB 1042, without his signature because more people would need to register with the state in order to be a licensed security guard in California.
Earlier this year the bill was unanimously approved in the State Senate and Assembly.
AB 1042, authored by Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove), would have expanded the definition of a security guard to anyone who wears a security uniform or performs security functions as their main job duty.
Right now, according to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, the agency responsible for regulating the industry, a security officer only needs to be licensed if the employee is wearing clothing that identifies him or her as security. If the person is not wearing a uniform, but performing the same duties, no license is required.
“Security guards and bouncers should meet minimum professional standards and pass background checks,” Cooper said. “We have a responsibility to protect the public and AB 1042 would have ensured that individuals providing security roles would be properly trained and certified.”
The bill was inspired by an NBC 7 investigation into the local security guard industry. The investigation revealed an "underground industry" of unlicensed, untrained security guards in the county. Experts told NBC 7 Investigates businesses are hiring cheap officers and turning a blind eye to state requirements.
“Registration and licensing can help protect consumers and the public, but they can also create barriers to entry,” Brown wrote. “I am not convinced that enough evidence currently exists to justify expanding the definition of a proprietary private security officer to include bouncers who work at nightclubs and bars.”
Former SDPD detective and CEO of Security Nightclub Consultants Robert Smith told NBC 7 Investigates, “probably 70-75% [of working security officers] are not licensed properly."
Lynn Walsh is an investigative journalist