SACRAMENTO – Gavin’s Law (AB 1067) unexpectedly passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee Tuesday with 5 yes votes and 3 not voting.
Assemblyman Jim Patterson introduced the bill to help families of hit and run victims change state law to close a loophole that benefits drivers who flee the scene. The bill now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for further hearing.
The committee heard powerful testimony from Rita Gladding, Gavin’s mother, and Mike Osegueda, whose sister Courtney Osegueda was killed in a hit-and-run crash in February 2021 in Oakland. With the votes cast, the bill was left one vote short of passing.
Shortly after, Democrat Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) changed her vote from “not voting” to “yes” after a conversation with Assemblyman Patterson in which he further explained how the loophole benefits drivers who leave the scene of a hit-and-run.
If signed into law, AB 1067 will increase penalties for drivers in fatal hit-and-run crashes from the current maximum of four years, to six years. As the law is written, a DUI driver who leaves the scene and sobers up before being caught, avoids a potential 15-year sentence for felony DUI charges.
Gavin’s Law is named after beloved Central Valley vice principal Gavin Gladding. Gavin was killed in a hit-and-run accident in September 2018. The driver was sentenced to three years, but only served 13 months behind bars. In previous attempts, Gavin’s Law passed almost unanimously twice through the Assembly but failed to pass through the Senate Public Safety Committee.