Governor Signs New Bills
Posted by Alex Nochez on Oct 7, 2013 - 4:07:47 PM
CALIFORNIA — Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills intended to amend two existing laws on Thursday, October 3.
Senator Lieu & Assemblyman Bradford
SB 558, authored by State Senator Ted W. Lieu (D-Torrance), amends Section 1986.1 of the Code of Civil Procedures relating to reporters. Now, when a subpoena is filed to retrieve the records of a journalist held by a third party organization, such as a phone company or internet provider, the filing party must give a five-day notice to both the journalist and the organization that employs him or her alerting them to the subpoena.
In addition, there must be sufficient reason given as to why the records are needed and why there are no alternate avenues available for the procurement of those records.
A press release from Senator Lieu noted that the creation of the bill was brought on from the scandal in May 2013 involving the seizure of phone records of various Associated Press reporters. This amendment would close a loophole that would prevent a similar incident from happening in the state.
“Today's bipartisan vote makes it clear:
California will protect the First Amendment,” says the statement.
AB 721, also signed by the governor, amends sections 11352 and 11379 of the Health and Safety Code, which deals with drug trafficking. Assemblyman Steven Bradford's (D-Gardena) changes make it so that the word “transport” in the law now means “transport for sale.”
Originally, the law could be used to arrest and sentence individuals carrying a small amount of drugs, even if they had no intention of selling. The amendment language now forces investigators to prove that the person arrested was carrying the drugs for the purpose of selling them, though it does not prevent people from being charged for “aiding and abetting...any act prohibited by this section,” according to the bill.
Assemblyman Bradford stated in a press statement that “the broad interpretation of existing law wastes resources going after users instead of dealers.” With the change,
Bradford hopes to also see prison costs go down as a result of fewer individuals going to prison for a “baseless felony.”