Politics & Government

Jerry Brown signs bills on 'affirmative consent,' cocaine sentencing

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation requiring California colleges to adopt rape-prevention policies that include an “affirmative consent” standard for sexual actvity, his office said Sunday.

The nationally watched legislation will put responsibility on someone engaging in sexual activity to obtain an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement from his or her partner.

The signing was among dozens of decisions Brown announced as he nears a Tuesday deadline to act on legislation lawmakers sent him this year.

In a major victory for California labor unions, the Democratic governor signed legislation that will hold businesses liable when subcontractors violate wage, workplace safety or workers’ compensation rules.

The legislation was a priority of organized labor, and it was one of only two bills given the California Chamber of Commerce’s “job killer” label to make it to Brown’s desk this year.

Brown vetoed legislation that would have limited when law enforcement agencies can use drones without obtaining warrants, as well as a a bill that would have changed procedures in farm labor disputes to make it harder for California farmers to stall new contracts.

The campus rape-prevention bill, Senate Bill 967, by Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, came in response to increasing public attention to sexual assaults on college campuses.

“As the father of a young college-age daughter, I was stunned, I was quite surprised when I read the statistic that 20 percent of young women have been sexually assaulted on a college campus,” de León, the incoming Senate leader, said last month.

“These are our daughters, they are our sisters, they are our nieces.”

Brown signed the measure without comment.

He also signed bills:

• Reducing the penalty for possession for sale of crack cocaine to eliminate sentencing disparities in California law between crack and powder cocaine.

Senate Bill 1010, by Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, erases a distinction advocates called racially charged. Existing law calls for three to five years of incarceration for violators caught intending to sell crack cocaine, but two to four years for powder.

• Authorizing law enforcement officials to seek wiretaps when investigating human trafficking and increasing protections for victims of the illegal trade.

Senate Bill 955, by Mitchell, adds human trafficking to the list of offenses for which wiretapping may be ordered. Offenses for which a wiretap may be sought under existing law include murder, kidnapping and certain drug-related offenses, among others.

Assembly Bill 1585, by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, allows someone who is convicted of solicitation or prostitution to petition a court to set aside the conviction if he or she can prove a conviction resulted from being a victim of human trafficking.

• Increasing training and staffing requirements for the operators of assisted-living facilities in California.

Assembly Bill 2044, by Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez, D-Pomona, requires managers of residential care facilities to have at least one administrator or other qualified employee on the premises at all times. The measure also requires that someone certified in CPR and first aid be on duty.

Assembly Bill 1570, by Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata, requires applicants for licenses to operate residential care facilities for the elderly to complete 80 hours of coursework and a state-administered exam of at least 100 questions.

Existing law requires applicants for licenses to complete a certification program that includes at least 40 hours of classroom instruction.

Proponents of the regulations cited growing demand for residential care centers over the past 30 years. According to a legislative analysis, there were more than 7,500 licensed residential care facilities for the elderly in California with a capacity to serve more than 176,000 residents.

• Putting on the 2016 ballot a measure to repeal Proposition 227, the 1998 initiative that restricted bilingual instruction in California.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee