In a rare move, Gov. Jerry Brown said Friday he was allowing a bill increasing penalties for possession of date-rape drugs to become law without his signature.
Brown normally signs bills he supports or vetoes them if he doesn’t, but bills can become law if the governor fails to act by Friday’s midnight deadline. The governor’s representatives declined to explain his decision, but Brown has in the past been reluctant to approve bills that added to prison overcrowding.
The measure by Sen. Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) targets drugs that cause victims to become completely incapacitated, leaving them with no memory of their assault.
The bill restores the authority of county prosecutors to pursue felony charges against individuals caught with the most common date rape drugs and who have also demonstrated the intent to commit a sexual assault. It addresses a change in the authority that was included in Proposition 47, previously approved by voters.
“The issue of sexual assault has received increased attention in both state and national media recently as California’s inadequate sexual assault laws have been brought to light,” Galgiani said in a statement.