Dear Assemblyman Devon Mathis,
On behalf of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors, we write in support of AB 1899, Crimes: False Personation. AB 1899 would prohibit individuals, under the penalty of a misdemeanor, for the credible impersonation of peace officers, firefighters, employees of a public utilities, and state/local government agencies.
AB 1899 is a common-sense measure that would modernize California’s laws for impersonation via electronic means and tackle the growing trend in fraudulent activity. According to a report from the Federal Trade Commission, 2.8 million fraud reports were filed in 2021. This is a 70% increase in fraud reports compared to 2020 with the majority of reported fraud taking place electronically. AB 1899 would expand the existing definition of “electronic means” to include impersonation via cellular telephone or any other device that can transfer signs, signals, text, images, sounds, or data. Additionally, AB 1899 provides further protection for those individuals who use Text Telephone Devices, Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf, and all other devices used to assist communication with hearing and visually impaired individuals.
As the elected governing body of a rural county, it is very important that we limit the spread of misinformation and disinformation from individuals seeking to promote their own agendas under the false guise of a county official. Tulare County is close to 5,000 square miles in size with multiple isolated communities spread across the region. Due to the geographic culture of the area, word of mouth is very important and the risk of an individual falsely claiming to represent the county could create irreputable divides in the community and mistrust of their local government.
For these reasons and more, the County of Tulare supports AB 1899. Should you have any further questions regarding this position, please contact our office at (559) 636-5000.
Larry Micari, District One Supervisor
Pete Vander Poel, District Two Supervisor
Amy Shuklian, District Three Supervisor
Eddie Valero, Chair
Dennis Townsend, Vice-Chair