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Governor signs legislation to reduce sale of stolen goods online 

Gavin Newsom affordable housing

Official photo of California Governor Gavin Newsom.

Legislation to strengthen transparency rules for high-volume, third-party sellers, provide tools for law enforcement to identify stolen items

– With online marketplaces selling stolen merchandise, Governor Gavin Newsom this week signed legislation to strengthen transparency rules for high-volume, third-party sellers and provide greater tools for law enforcement to identify stolen items, often taken from doorsteps or shoplifted at retail stores.

“We are tightening the spigot, reducing the sale of online illegal merchandise,” said Newsom. “By empowering consumers with the ability to identify stolen items for sale online and providing greater transparency for high-volume sellers, we are tackling this problem at the source. Thanks to the work of my partners in the legislature, in California, we are addressing the crime we see affecting the nation through a multipronged approach focused on deterrence, enforcement, and prevention.”

Both SB 301 by state Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and AB 1700 by Assemblymember Brian Maienschein (D-San Diego) work to address the online sale of stolen merchandise. SB 301 calls for online marketplaces to require high-volume third-party sellers to provide greater information to protect consumers. These requirements include contact and bank account information, as well as a seller’s physical address. AB 1700 directs the Attorney General’s Office to dedicate a section of its website for individuals to report items found on online marketplaces, identified as possible stolen goods. The attorney general will share this information with local law enforcement agencies. The bill will also require online marketplaces to display a link to the attorney general’s webpage.

The governor also signed AB 2294 by Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer Sr. (D-Los Angeles), which gives law enforcement the ability to keep in custody individuals suspected of organized retail theft. Under the current process, an individual arrested for a misdemeanor is typically released with a written notice or citation. This bill will allow for law enforcement to keep in custody a person arrested for a misdemeanor if they have been convicted of theft from a store in the last six months, or if there is probable cause that the individual is guilty of participating in organized retail theft.

This bill signing comes on the heels of the governor’s announcement of California’s Real Public Safety Plan, which includes hundreds of millions in funding to provide grants for local district attorneys to address retail theft, establish a statewide organized theft team in the attorney general’s office, make permanent and expands the Organized Retail Theft Task Force led by CHP, and create the largest gun buyback program in the country. The plan also includes grants for local law enforcement, prosecutors, and small businesses victimized by retail theft.

The full list of bills the Governor announced signing recently is as follows:

• AB 485 by Assemblymember Janet Nguyen (R-Huntington Beach) – Hate crimes: reporting.
• AB 557 by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) – Hate crimes: vertical prosecution.
• AB 655 by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) – California Law Enforcement Accountability Reform Act.
• AB 1700 by Assemblymember Brian Maienschein (D-San Diego) – Theft: online marketplaces: reporting.
• AB 2294 by Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. (D-Los Angeles) – Diversion for repeat retail theft crimes.
• SB 301 by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) – Marketplaces: online marketplaces.

For the full text of the bills, visit http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.

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About the author: News Staff

The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at info@pasoroblesdailynews.com.