Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill enshrining into law the state military policy to refer sexual assault cases to civilian prosecutors.
The symbolic move comes as federal lawmakers consider whether U.S. military commanders should continue investigating assault cases within their ranks. Brown's office announced signing SB1422 on Thursday.
Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla of Los Angeles says the law shows California leading by example on an issue of national concern. Advocates for sexual assault victims have been pushing for the investigation and prosecution of their abusers to be removed from the military chain of command.
SB1422 applies to the California Military Department, which oversees 24,000 people serving in the National Guard, Naval Militia and Military Reserve. The bill also requires the department to report sexual assault statistics every year.