California Gov. Gavin Newsom has officially signed AB 2799, the landmark legislation that protects an artist’s right to freedom of expression.
The Democratic lawmaker passed the first-of-its-kind bill Friday afternoon, more than a month after it was unanimously approved by the state Senate. Known as the Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act, the law restricts the use of rap lyrics as evidence in California court. New York failed to pass similar legislation earlier this year, which was seen as a major blow to artists’ First Amendment rights.
“Artists of all kinds should be able to create without the fear of unfair and prejudicial prosecution,” Newsom said. “California’s culture and entertainment industry set trends around the world and it’s fitting that our state is taking a nation-leading role to protect creative expression and ensure that artists are not criminalized under biased policies.”