Assemblymember Irwin bill to protect confidentiality for autopsy reports and death investigations will not be moving forward this year

Monday, June 29, 2020

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill 2372, authored by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D—Thousand Oaks) and sponsored by the County of Ventura will not be moving forward this year. The bill strengthened the confidentiality of autopsy reports and death investigations to protect the privacy of victims and their families.

“I am disappointed that a very important bill for my community is not moving forward this year, but I am committed to continuing to work on this issue next year with the County of Ventura and local stakeholders,” stated Assemblymember Irwin. “Californians' privacy should remain intact if their death is investigated and results in an autopsy or medical examiners’ record. The families of the Borderline shooting victims deserve these privacy measures to reduce unnecessary trauma from the circulation of this highly intimate information. This bill would also help prevent potential “copycats” from accessing the same records. AB 2372 sought to balance the public’s right to know and the privacy of the deceased, by allowing continued access to top-level information and allowing a deceased's next of kin to release the full record.”

AB 2372 was referred to the Assembly Public Safety Committee but was not set for a hearing. This was due, in part, to the limited capacity of the Legislature from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Each policy committee only held one hearing, resulting in a limited number of bills passing through each committee.

“I greatly appreciate Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin’s leadership in authoring AB 2372. Although we understand that the unprecedented pandemic called for deferring action on this bill until next year, the County of Ventura remains committed to this important privacy issue,” said Ventura County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Christopher Young. “While the delay in advancing this measure is unfortunate, I remain hopeful that we will be successful in crafting a law that strikes the perfect balance between protecting individual privacy and the public’s need to know.”