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Tackling crime: California lawmakers set to vote to repeal or reform Prop 47


SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Should California Proposition 47 be repealed or reformed?

That’s the question that will be debated at the State Capitol on Tuesday. Some lawmakers say it’s a necessary step if the state wants to crack down on crime. But supporters of the law say the law has had no impact on crime and the proposal has been more successful than people realize.

On Tuesday morning, members of the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee will discuss three bills: two that would reform Prop. 47 and one that would repeal it entirely.

Republican Assemblyman Kevin Kiley is the author of AB 1599 – which would repeal the 2014 law that reclassified certain non-violent offenses such as drug and property thefts as misdemeanors rather than felonies. For theft and shoplifting, it raised the threshold for what is considered a felony to $950.

Kiley, who is backed by the California Peace Officers Association, believes the law has led to more crimes and less accountability. His slogan ? “Make crime illegal again.”

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“This is one of those laws that undermined public safety, made our communities much less safe,” Kiley told ABC7 News. “I mean, it’s not really an exaggeration to say that the purpose of this bill is to make crime illegal again.”

But supporters of the bill say Republicans are twisting the facts and that Prop. 47 did not increase crime.

“The high-level, very sophisticated coordinated smash and grabs that we’ve seen that have made headlines across California are serious problems. And they’re also criminal examples of criminal behavior,” Will Matthews, door – Californians’ voice for safety and justice. , noted. “Those involved in any of these incidents can be, and in fact have been, charged with crimes. They have absolutely nothing to do with Proposition 47.”

According to data from the California Department of Justice, which has data through 2020, property crimes have declined in California since the proposal was passed in 2014. Property crimes increased in 2015, the the first year the law came into force, but they have declined every year since.

Violent crime has increased since 2014, but Proposition 47 addresses low-level drug and property crime. According to the proposal, any violent crime is still considered a crime.

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Matthews said Prop. 47 has resulted in millions of dollars being spent on crime prevention programs.

“Proposition 47 has been a tremendous success in California,” Matthews said. “In the seven-plus years since Prop. 47 went on the books, it has saved $600 million that has been reallocated to local communities and funded the creation of statewide programs that provide addiction treatment, mental health services, reintegration service, job training and housing assistance.

Still, communities across California say they feel their cities have become less safe and it seems public opinion around Prop. 47, which was adopted in 2014 with almost 60% support, is evolving. A recent poll from the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies shows that California voters by a two-to-one margin now support amending Prop. 47.

Two other bills lawmakers will debate on Tuesday include one that would lower the threshold for a crime of shoplifting from $950 to $400. Another bill would increase penalties for repeat offenders.

If Kiley’s bill passes the Public Safety Committee, it will still have to go to the plenary and then to the Senate for a vote. So would then make it onto the ballot in November.

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