(AP) — California will soon end some mandatory sentences, make it easier to expunge old criminal records, bar charging inmates for medical care and ban police from using facial recognition software on body cameras.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said late Tuesday that he signed more than two dozen criminal justice bills into law as the state continues its march away from get-tough measures that once clogged California prisons and led to federal intervention.
Among the measures are two that remove mandatory sentences. One ends an automatic one-year enhancement added to current sentences for each prior felony jail or prison term. The other ends mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug crimes, leaving the sentences to judges’ discretion.
Other bills make California the first state to bar health and dental co-pays for inmates and allow allows Californians with felony convictions to serve on juries.
Newsom also signed measures that mandate prompt testing of all rape kits and temporarily block police from using facial recognition software on body cameras.
Meanwhile, California will allow voters to register on Election Day at all polling places and vote centers in 2020.
Newsom signed a bill that expands conditional voter registration in the state. Voters who register conditionally on Election Day will not have their ballots counted until their registration has been verified.
In the 2018 election more than 57,000 people cast ballots after registering in such a manner.
California’s voter registration period closes 15 days prior to Election Day. The conditional registration period is anytime between 14 days prior to an election and Election Day.
Supporters of the measure say most counties only offer such registration at a single site, and expanding the option to every polling place will make voting more accessible.
Other newly signed laws address campaign finance transparency.
Signature gatherers for ballot initiatives will need to disclose their campaigns’ top three funders when asking voters to sign petitions. And campaigns that send texts will need to disclose who’s paying for the messages.
CapRadio’s Ben Adler contributed to this report.
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