California Gov. Gavin Newsom Signs Bill Restricting the Use of Rap Lyrics in Court

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Rap lyrics won’t be allowed to be used as evidence in courtrooms within the State of California. According to Variety, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed The Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act that prohibits songs from being used against defendants.

The bill, dubbed the AB 2799 law it was unanimously approved in both the California Senate as well as the Assembly during August. The rappers Killer Mike, Meek Mill, Too $hort, Ty Dolla $ign, YG E-40, and Tyga were among the speakers during a live bill signing ceremony about the significance of the law with the CEO of the Recording Academy Harvey Mason Jr. The leaders of Songwriters of North America and the Black Music Action Coalition also participated in the ceremony of signing.

“For too long, prosecutors in California have used rap lyrics as a convenient way to inject racial bias and confusion into the criminal justice process,” said Dina LaPolt, a lawyer for entertainment as well as co-founder of Songwriters of North America. “This law sets up crucial safeguards to help courts ensure that prosecutors are held accountable and keep the prosecution of Black and Brown expressions of art. Thank you, Governor. Newsom for setting the bar. We’re hoping Congress will approve similar legislation, since this is a problem that affects the entire country.”


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Learn more about the progress of the bill as well as future legislative initiatives here.

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