Home>Articles>Senate Democrats Kill Attempt to ‘Make Crime Illegal Again’ With Reforms to Prop. 47

California State Senate. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Senate Democrats Kill Attempt to ‘Make Crime Illegal Again’ With Reforms to Prop. 47

Proposed measure would have significantly elevated the charge for serial thieves

By Katy Grimes, September 13, 2023 7:28 am

Make crime illegal again. Please.

There have been numerous attempts since 2014 to repeal and/or reverse Proposition 47, passed by tragically misinformed voters in 2014, and flagrantly titled “The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act,” which reduced a host of felonies to misdemeanors, including drug crimes, date rape, and all thefts under $950, even for repeat offenders who steal every day.

Prop. 47 which also decriminalized drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor, removed law enforcement’s ability to make an arrest in most circumstances, as well as removing judges’ ability to order drug rehabilitation programs rather than incarceration.

These are quality of life issues, which don’t differentiate between Republicans and Democrats. However, that didn’t seem to matter to partisan Democrats Tuesday in the Senate. And notably, voters favor changing Prop. 47 by a 2-to-1 margin according to a 2022 poll released by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies.

Senate Democrats killed amendments on AB 1726 led by Sen. Janet Nguyen (R-Huntingon Beach) to combat rampant retail theft in California by reforming Proposition 47. The proposed measure, aimed at enhancing public safety and addressing the growing problem of serial retail theft, was even denied a full debate.

“This morning on the Senate Floor, I proposed amendments to AB 1726 which would have elevated the charge for serial thieves with three or more prior theft-related convictions, turning a fourth conviction into a felony offense,” Sen. Nguyen posted on Twitter. “The Senate Dems would not even have a simple discussion about the amendments and voted them down.”

“Our state is facing a rising tide of retail theft, and it is imperative that we take decisive action to protect our communities,” said Senator Janet Nguyen. “It is disheartening that our colleagues across the aisle did not see fit to engage in a full debate on this critical issue.”

The proposed amendments, if they’d been passed, would have elevated the charge for serial thieves with three or more prior theft-related convictions, turning a fourth conviction into a felony offense. This reform of Prop 47 would significantly strengthen penalties for repeat offenders.

Despite being told that the “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act” would provide needed criminal justice reforms, it has actually been a public safety disaster.

The Globe reported in 2022 on the poll  by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies which showed Gov. Gavin Newsom’s approval rating is sinking across most voter groups over rampant homelessness and crime throughout the state, among other issues like continuing COVID restrictions two years in, and never-ending mask mandates on kids.

“Contributing to voters’ more mixed assessment of the Governor are growing concerns of how Newsom is handling several festering problems, such as homelessness and crime, that are now plaguing the state,” the poll said.

The UC Berkeley IGS poll found that 78% of voters believe crime has risen statewide and 65% say it has gone up in their local community. Most importantly, they favor changing Prop. 47 by a 2-to-1 margin.

“For example, two in three voters (66%) now rate Newsom as doing a ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ job in his handling  of the issue of homelessness. This is up 12 percentage points from 2020, the last time the poll made an assessment. In addition, a 51% majority of voters also downrates the Governor’s performance on crime and public safety issues, up 16 percentage points from 2020.”

Pollsters note that homelessness and crime stand out as areas of the greatest criticism. Is it any surprise that Gov. Newsom is now talking tough in interviews about rampant homelessness and smash and grab crimes in his home city?

Are Democrats that out of touch with their constituents and the crime plaguing the neighborhoods, streets and businesses?

As the Globe has consistently and repeatedly reported, in addition to Prop. 47, there were two other big legal changes that fostered the anarchy, violence and chaos in California today.

Assembly Bill 109, in 2011, was then-Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature legislation he sold as “prison realignment.” However, AB 109 only served to overwhelm county jails by re-housing “nonviolent” state offenders from prison. AB 109 has been a failure. “Governor Brown had a choice. He could have built more prisons, but instead he reduced the population by releasing or pushing inmates to local county jails, which are not designed to house someone past a year and prevents law enforcement from taking low-level offenders in,” Ronald A. Lawrence, the Citrus Heights Chief of Police and President of the California Police Chiefs Association, told the Globe in 2020.

Proposition 47, as we describe above, decriminalizing theft. Notably, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) opposed Prop. 47, concerned that it would reclassify a wide range of crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor, and would result in the re-sentencing and release of thousands of individuals already convicted of these crimes. She was correct, as her concerns came to fruition.

Proposition 57, shamelessly titled “the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act,” now allows nonviolent felons to qualify for early release, and parole boards can now only consider an inmate’s most recent charge, and not their entire history because of this proposition. Notably, both Prop. 47 and 57 were given their ballot titles by then-Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Crimes now considered “nonviolent” under Proposition 57 in California include:

  • human trafficking of a child
  • rape of an unconscious person or by intoxication
  • drive by shooting at inhabited dwelling or vehicle
  • assault with a firearm or deadly weapon
  • assault on a police officer
  • serial arson
  • exploding a bomb to injure people
  • solicitation to commit murder
  • assault from a caregiver to a child under eight years old that could result in a coma or death
  • felony domestic violence. 

Democrats even killed six real criminal justice reform bills in the California Legislature in 2019, which would have addressed Prop. 57’s flaws and expanded the definition of violent crime to include human trafficking, elder and dependent adult abuse, assault with a deadly weapon, rape, and other crimes most Californians consider violent.

And in 2022, Democrats killed Assembly Bill 1599  by Assemblymen Kevin Kiley, James Gallagher, and Jim Patterson, to repeal Proposition 47, and “make crime illegal again.”

Click here for the full language of the amendment, here for the video of the presentation, and here for the roll-call vote.

The people of California want the crime to stop. Now. But with Democrats treating criminals as a some sort of protected group under the ADA, it sadly is no surprise they killed yet another bill to reverse the protections criminals enjoy under Proposition 47.

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14 thoughts on “Senate Democrats Kill Attempt to ‘Make Crime Illegal Again’ With Reforms to Prop. 47

  1. The Democrats who have seized almost complete control of California’s government with voter fraud and rigged voting machines is a criminal gang of satan worshipers and pedos.

    1. You said it, TJ. Does ANYONE really still think we have a legitimately-elected Dem-Marxist super-majority legislature sitting up there in Sacramento, never mind a legitimately-elected Dem-Marxist governor? Because we do not.
      One way or another, however, these people will pay for every last bit of the harm, suffering, and destruction they have inflicted upon this state.

    2. Completely agree with crime and homelessness being out of control but the pedo pizzagate nonsense doesn’t bring sanity to your case. That stuff is as nutty as the left policies on crime. They were elected from the primary population centers around the state (they all lean blue), the vast majority of CA is very empty and that’s your more conservative pockets. Crime makes people more conservative, hopefully more people see this and vote their interest avoiding the opposite club of insanity. It worked best when we were all more centrist.

  2. Nice summary TJ! The Republicans should put together a string of simple, highly supported bills and have the Democrats shoot them down. Then launch an advertising blitz showing the list of bills the democrats won’t support; prosecuting human traffickers, rape, theft, looting, parent decisions for their children, etc etc. Show everyone in CA exactly what the Democrats stand for and against. It’s our last hope.

  3. Boy, Katy did you nail it with “tragically misinformed voters”!
    We’ve become “Headlines Only” news consumers. But even if you read beyond the *SAFE schools and neighborhoods* title, Prop 47 was written to inspire sympathy for adults and juveniles being *severely* punished for seemingly “minor offenses”. Without a lawyer explaining the differences between what YOU consider *non-violent* crimes, and what leftist Democrats consider *non-violent* crimes – the propositions pass because we’re thinking “stealing a candy bar” while they’re thinking “arm-loads of high-end merch that nobody can calculate if the $ amount is “” than $950 before the punks are out the door and gone”.
    And Newsom loudly shouts at the sky “THIS CRIME MUST END!” knowing full well Democrat legislators won’t allow any reduced funding for “crime-fighting/hand-wringing”.

  4. Of course they did nothing for the citizens of this state. They are the most corrupt and incompetent body of government to come around in a very long time. I hope they have read some history books so they at least know what happens when a body of citizens no longer feel they have a voice in a representative government. It isn’t pretty.

    I mean who in their right mind governs this badly? It is far past time to roll the clock back to the time when it was far more expensive to be the criminal rather than the victim. If this doesn’t happen by government the people will do it for them.

  5. If we went back to in-person voting on election DAY, the scum in Sacramento, including Gruesome Newsom, would be unemployed. The fact of the matter is, the citizens can object ‘till the cows come home and nothing will be done because the democrats know they can’t be voted out of office.

  6. I agree with Belkabeast. A campaign to show what demo-rats really stand for. Remember the war of freedom was wagged and won by 20% of the population fighting for independence. Democrat party needs to become synonymous with legislative cartel.

  7. It is absolutely crazy that there is a majority in California that continues to vote Democrat!? Why is it so hard for people on the left side of the aisle to see alternate pathways to success in so many areas? Despite glaring failures, they just keep making bad decisions: Border control/illegal immigration? Crime? Taxes? Homelessness? Business regulations? Drugs? School choice? Vaccinations? Bullet Train? Election integrity? Pick a topic and I’m sure the Left can screw it up….

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