SACRAMENTO — Last month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that decriminalizes nearly all jaywalking in the state.
The Freedom to Walk Act limits when an officer can cite a pedestrian for jaywalking.
According to The New York Times, data from the California Racial and Identity Profiling Act showed that a disproportionate number of Black people in San Diego and Los Angeles were cited for jaywalking compared to white pedestrians.
State assemblyman and author of the bill, Phil Ting, told The Los Angeles Times that he hoped the bill would prevent vulnerable people from being targeted by police.
“We believe everyone in California has the freedom to walk across the street without being feared of citation. At a time when we are facing climate change, we want more people to walk, we want more people to bike,” Ting told KFMB-TV.
According to The Associated Press, Newsom vetoed an earlier effort by Ting to decriminalize jaywalking in 2021. At the time, Newsom said he wanted to find legislation that “addresses the unequal enforcement of jaywalking laws in a manner that does not risk worsening California’s pedestrian safety.”
Newsom signed AB 2147 on Sept. 30, and the law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
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