Articles Tagged with new laws

Every new year, California Governor Jerry Brown sifts through hundreds of bills sent to his desk and signs into law a slew of legislative changes in the criminal law sector for the state. In 2016, Brown saw 1,059 bills come forward, 898 of which he signed into law. He also vetoed 159 and let two become law without signing them. Here are the key laws that will be enacted in 2017 that affect the criminal law sector.

Assault Weapons

As part of a legislative package toughening gun regulations, Senate Bill 880 and Assembly Bill 1135 sought to close a loophole for guns with reloading devices called “bullet buttons.” While California already prohibits the sale and possession of assault weapons (defined as those with magazines that can be detached without disassembling the gun), “bullet button” devices quickly release spent magazines to get around the ban. As of the new year, it is now illegal to sell semi-automatic, centerfire rifles or semi-automatic pistols that do not have a fixed magazine and also have one from a list of specific features in California.

Changes in Sex Crime Laws

Senate Bill 1322 also took effect at the start of the new year. It prevents law enforcement from charging those under 18 years of age with prostitution or loitering with the intent to commit prostitution and was intended to protect victims of sex trafficking from criminal prosecution. Senate Bill 1129 further removes the mandatory minimum sentencing penalties imposed for repeat prostitution offenders who are 18 years of age or older. This law will give judges more discretion in sentencing on a case by case basis as opposed to hardline penalties.

However, while some criminal reform laws have made things more lenient on certain offenders, other laws, like Assembly Bill 2888 ensures that certain rape cases have mandatory minimum prison sentences that are not suspendable. This was a direct reaction to the lenient sentencing of convicted Standford rapist Brock Turner. Lastly, Assembly Bill 27 will classify all forms of rape as a violent felony.

Uber and Lyft

Companies including Uber and Lyft can no longer hire drivers who are registered sex offenders, have been convicted of violent felonies, or have had a DUI conviction within the last seven years.

Date Rape Drugs

Senate Bill 1182 makes the possession of date rape drugs like Roofies with intent to commit sexual assault a felony instead of a misdemeanor. Continue reading

With the New year just starting, a lot of new criminal laws will be effective that may affect you.  There have been 807 bills signed into law set to take place in the new year, affecting everything from gun ownership, new regulations on medical marijuana, and health insurance. This blog aims to give you the run-down of the most important laws that may affect you.

Medical Marijuana

In August 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a measure which would allow steep civil fines for marijuana farms that damage the environment by dumping wastewater and chemicals, removing trees, and killing wild animals. It was meant to target illegally operating marijuana farms which are damaging the state’s watershed system in the midst of a historic mega drought.

In an attempt to address the ongoing trend of police misconduct and institutional bias, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation last week mandating that California law enforcement agencies collect and make public data on the racial makeup of all those encountered by police.  A.B. 953, was written by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) as a response to fatal police shootings of unarmed black men and other people of color. A 2008 study of LAPD data by a Yale researcher found blacks and Latinos were subjected to stops, frisks, searches, and arrests at significantly higher rates than whites, regardless of whether they lived in high-crime neighborhoods.

What A.B. 953 Does

A.B. 953 will amend Sections 13012 and 13519.4 of the California Penal Code. Under the new law, California police must collect data on the people they stop, including perceived race and ethnicity, the reason for the encounter, and the outcome. The state attorney general’s office will determine how the reporting is done and how the data are stored. In addition, police agencies whose officers wear cameras will have to follow rules on storing and using the video so it is not mishandled. The regulations dictate how long video should be kept and how supervisors should use it in investigations.