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California lawmaker proposes bill to decriminalize jaywalking

Virus Outbreak California
Posted at 11:13 AM, Mar 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 14:13:55-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A California lawmaker is proposing a new bill that would decriminalize jaywalking in the state.

AB 1238, The Freedom To Walk Act, would legalize crossing outside of a crosswalk or against a traffic light when it is safe to do so. The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), aims to prevent disproportionate citations and undue financial burden on low-income violators.

A release from Ting's office said the bill would prevent police officers from using jaywalking as a pretext to stop Black and Brown people, "especially since under-resourced neighborhoods often lack adequate crossing infrastructure."

"Whether it’s someone’s life or the hundreds of dollars in fines, the cost is too much for a relatively minor infraction," said Ting. "It’s time to reconsider how we use our law enforcement resources and whether our jaywalking laws really do protect pedestrians."

California has already taken steps to lessen the punishment around jaywalking. Until 2018, it was illegal in California to cross the street if a traffic light countdown had already begun.

State lawmakers are expected to begin debating the bill next month during its initial committee hearing.