Over the last few weeks, a broad coalition of civil liberties and social justice organizations rained down letters, tweets, and op-eds on Gov. Jerry Brown, urging him to sign A.B. 2298, a bill to begin the process of overhauling the state's CalGang gang affiliation database.
On Wednesday, it all paid off.
Gov. Brown signed the legislation, creating a requirement that law enforcement inform a person before they add them to a shared gang database such as CalGang. The new law also gives the person the opportunity to challenge their inclusion in a gang database in court. Starting in January 2018, law enforcement agencies will be required to produce detailed transparency reports on each of their shared gang databases.
In his signing message, Brown said he was swayed by a recent state auditor's report that found that CalGang failed to take even the most basic measures to protect privacy and civil liberties and ensure accuracy, resulting in "diminished" value to public safety.
EFF applauds Gov. Brown for signing the bill, and we thank our coalition partners—especially the Youth Justice Coalition and the National Immigrant Law Center—for their hard work advocating for this much needed reform, as well as reporter Ali Winston for drawing statewide attention to CalGang. This effort also would not have been possible without the hundreds of Californians who sent out tweets and letters to the governor.
Read more about EFF's argument for overhauling CalGang here.