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.
The uptick in smash and grab robberies in our communities and around the state is a disaster for business and the economy. pic.twitter.com/7APeEdQBIO
— Senator Janet Nguyen (@SenJanetNguyen) September 13, 2023
“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.
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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