The state of California is taking steps toward limiting the use of rap lyrics in court. On Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed The Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act.
“[The law requires] a court, in a criminal proceeding where a party seeks to admit as evidence a form of creative expression, to consider specified factors when balancing the probative value of that evidence against the substantial danger of undue prejudice,” the piece of legislation states, per CNN.
Newsom was joined by a number of artists, including Meek Mill, YG, Killer Mike and Ty Dolla $ign, as he signed the act. Willie “Prophet” Stiggers called The Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act a “huge victory for the artistic and creative community.”
“For too long, prosecutors in California have used rap lyrics as a convenient way to inject racial bias and confusion into the criminal justice process,” Songwriters of North America Dina LaPolt said.
“This legislation sets up important guardrails that will help courts hold prosecutors accountable and prevent them from criminalizing Black and Brown artistic expression. Thank you, Gov Newsom, for setting the standard. We hope Congress will pass similar legislation, as this is a nationwide problem.”