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California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed the Decriminalizing the Artistic Expression Act which limits the use of rap songs as evidence in the courtroom.
AB 2799 was officially signed by Newsom on Friday (September 30) According to Variety following that bill had been unanimously passed by the California State Senate in August.
The Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act received an overwhelming backing from artists like Meek Mill, Killer Mike, Too $hort Ty Dolla, E-40 YG among others. They were in attendance at an online signing ceremony to support the bill.
“The second time I witnessed the Governor of California sign bills that help our people … probation caps & bans on using rap lyrics in court ‘I RESPECT YOU’ Thankyou I understand the magnitude of the moves you make we need help in the system,” Meek tweeted to Twitter.
The third time I watched Governor Brown of California make laws that will benefit our citizens … probation limits and bans on the use of songs from rap in court “I RESPECT YOU” Thankyou I am aware of the significance of your actions We need help with the system! https://t.co/ZG1zW91hmu
— MeekMill (@MeekMill) September 30, 2022
It is Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr added: “Today we celebrate an important victory for musicians across the nation in California. The suppression of any form or genre of expression in art is a crime against all people who love music,” said Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. “The historical record that has been made through California today will to make a difference in the fight for the freedom of expression across the nation.
“We extend our gratitude to Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer for his leadership on this issue and to Governor Newsom for recognizing the importance of protecting artistry and signing the Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act into law.”
California is the only state in the country to prohibit the use of lyrics as evidence in courtrooms. However, there’s an exemption for the prosecution to make use of lyrics if they can show they are specifically relevant to circumstances of the case and do not “inject racial bias into the proceedings.”
New York attempted to approve a similar bill back during May but it was not able to secure acceptance from the Assembly.
The use of lyrics in court has become a popular subject of discussion within Hip Hop as of late particularly with being involved in the YSL RICO case using lyrics from different songs to make a argument in the case against the Young Thug as well as Gunna who are in jail without bond as they wait for the trial.
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