Newsom, Dem leaders try to negotiate Prop 47 reform off California ballots, as GOP wants to let voters decide


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California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday that he and fellow Democratic leaders in the state legislature are attempting to negotiate a Proposition 47 reform measure off the November ballot, but Republican leaders affirmed their support for voters to determine if parts of the initiative should be repealed.

Prop 47, which was approved by voters in 2014, made several crimes — including shoplifting, grand theft and receiving stolen property — a misdemeanor instead of a felony if the value of the property did not exceed $950. It also lowered the penalty for the personal use of most illegal drugs below a certain weight.

The initiative has been blamed by law enforcement, businesses and others for the rise in theft in California, according to KCRA.

“There’s a lot of moving parts, a lot of negotiations concurrently happening,” Newsom told reporters on Friday. “Prop 47 is included.”

NEWSOM PROPOSES DEFUNDING LAW ENFORCEMENT, PRISONS, PUBLIC SAFETY AS CALIFORNIA FACES MASSIVE DEFICIT

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he and Democrat leaders in the state Legislature are trying to negotiate a Prop 47 reform off the November ballot. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The governor and some Democrats have said they do not support the bipartisan effort to amend Prop 47. Newsom and legislative leaders are pushing some public safety bills circulating through the state Capitol that attempt to address organized retail theft, car break-ins and other crimes, after residents in the state voiced their concerns about the rise in crime.

The Prop 47 reform initiative is likely to make it onto the ballot, according to recent data from the California Secretary of State’s office. Proponents of the reform gathered 910,000 signatures supporting the ballot measure, although the signatures are still being verified.

Some Democrat lawmakers plan to add inoperability clauses into the public safety bills to prevent them from going into effect if voters approve the Prop 47 reforms, according to KCRA. Some Democrats said this is to ensure there are not any inconsistencies in the law, a claim the campaign seeking to reform Prop 47 rejected on Friday.

Republicans are calling this plan a “poison pill.” Republican leaders wrote a letter to Democrat leaders on Thursday announcing their opposition to “poison pills” that include repealing retail theft bills should voters adopt Prop 47 reforms.

“To combat the California crime wave, we need to strengthen our laws, both in the Legislature and at the ballot box,” Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones said in a statement. “It’s irresponsible to force voters into a false choice between the two. Unfortunately, some Democrat politicians are too prideful to admit their mistake with Prop 47 and they continue to deny the desperate need for reform. The Democrats’ poison pill amendments are a cynical attempt to mislead voters and prevent the necessary overhaul of our broken laws.”

CALIFORNIA HAS TO PROVIDE 1,200 TINY HOMES FOR STATE’S HOMELESS THAT WERE PROMISED IN MARCH 2023

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom

The governor and some Democrats have said they do not support the bipartisan effort to amend Prop 47. (MediaNews Group/East Bay Times via Getty Images)

Newsom declined to say if he would sign the legislation if it includes the inoperability clauses. When asked if he was not confident that voters would reject the measure if it makes it onto the November ballot, the governor said he does not believe it is necessary to have it on the ballot.

“Why have something on the ballot that doesn’t actually achieve the goals that are intended? Why do something that can be done legislatively, with more flexibility? I think it’s a better approach,” he said.

The ballot initiative would change Prop 47 to enhance penalties for repeat thieves, requiring people who steal for a third time to spend up to three years in prison. The measure would also classify the possession of fentanyl as a felony.

“Democrats need to stop playing politics with public safety and let voters decide on fixing Prop. 47,” Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher said in a statement. “These poison pills show that Democrats aren’t serious about ending the crime wave – they just want to look like they’re doing something because their years-long support for criminals has become a political liability.”

California Fox News graphic

Prop 47, approved by voters a decade ago, made several crimes, including shoplifting, grand theft and receiving stolen property, a misdemeanor instead of a felony if the value of the property did not exceed $950. (Fox News)

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Democrat Senate Pro Tempore Mike McGuire has said the measure is unnecessary, and that the legislative public safety package is the better choice.

“If you want a set of laws that will blunt retail theft, this plan is exactly what’s needed in this state,” McGuire said. “That’s why these bills are supported by law enforcement, firefighters, retailers, store owners and trusted local leaders. These 14 bills that will move next week aren’t about partisan politics, they’re about keeping the people of California safe.”

California’s secretary of state has until June 27 to certify the November ballot, which means Democrat leaders have just weeks to attempt to negotiate the measure off the ballot.



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