New law requires civilian investigation of military sex assault cases

New law requires civilian investigation of military sex assault cases
Sen. Alex Padilla, center, at a June event with Gov. Jerry Brown, left, and Sen. Kevin de Leon. On Thursday, Brown signed a measure by Padilla requiring civilian investigation and prosecution of military sexual assault allegations. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Thursday a measure requiring that sexual assault allegations by members of the California National Guard, State Military Reserve, and the Naval Militia be investigated and prosecuted by local civilian prosecutors instead of the chain of command of the Guard or California Military Department.

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) introduced SB 1422 because of concerns about the quality of internal military probes.

"Sexual assault is a serious problem throughout our military," Padilla said. "While Washington debates how to address this crisis, California can lead by example.  Victims of sexual assault deserve our support and a respectful and effective justice system."

The governor also legalized what is already a popular practice by pet owners throughout the state -- bringing their canine companions to outdoor restaurants.

State law technically bans dogs in eating establishments, but the provision has been inconsistently enforced. AB 1965 by Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada (D-Davis) overturns that ban and allows restaurants to welcome dogs in their outdoor dining areas.

Under the law, restaurants can opt not to welcome pooches and local governments can pass their own bans on dogs at dining spots.

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