State Watch

Newsom signs legislation changing sex offender law in California

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed legislation changing the state’s sex offender law to allow judges to have a say on whether to list someone as a sex offender for having oral or anal sex with a minor. 

The bill expands discretion already granted to judges to decide if a man should be on California’s sex offender registry, but the existing discretion had applied only to a man who had vaginal intercourse, The Associated Press reported

The legislation Newsom signed Friday permits judges to use the same discretion when the case involves voluntary oral or anal sex. 

State Sen. Scott Wiener (D), who introduced the bill, said Newsom’s signing of the bill ended “blatant discrimination” against LGBTQ youth in California by treating them “the exact same way that straight young people have been treated since 1944.” 

The law previously in place in the state allowed judges to decide whether a man should be placed on California’s sex offender registry if he had voluntary vaginal intercourse with someone 14 to 17 years old and was no more than 10 years older than the person. The bill expands that same discretion in regard to voluntary oral or anal sex. 

The measure won’t apply when a minor is under 14, when the age gap is larger than 10 years or when either party says the sex wasn’t consensual, the AP noted. 

Wiener also addressed online criticism and misinformation of the bill the lawmaker said was circulated online by the QAnon conspiracy theorists and applauded Newsom for signing the bill despite the difficult politics. 

“I am so grateful that Governor Newsom — one of the LGBTQ community’s strongest allies ever — once again has shown that he’s willing to support our community when it’s hard. And make no mistake: the politics here are hard, with the massive Trump, QAnon and MAGA misinformation campaign against the legislation,” Wiener said in a statement. “The facts are clear: SB 145 simply ends anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Today, California took yet another step toward an equitable society.” 

California’s police chiefs association also pushed back on false claims about the bill circulating online.  

“Despite misinformation, this bill does not legalize ANY crime against a child – SB 145 still maintains the SAME criminal punishments under current law,” the association tweeted. 

“SB 145 only provides a judge the SAME discretion they ALREADY have to use the facts of each limited case to determine who goes on our sex offender registry,” the association added. 

Tags California Gavin Newsom Scott Wiener Sex offender sex offender registry

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