A group of California lawmakers looking to crackdown on the retail theft crisis that has plagued the state in recent years.
The bipartisan group of lawmakers is taking aim at Proposition 47 with a proposal to change how the state punishes theft.
The backstory: California voters passed Proposition 47 in 2014, which reclassified most drug offenses and property thefts valued under $950 to misdemeanors.
The big picture: Asm. James Ramos (D–Highland) introduced Assembly Bill 1772 earlier this month, along with Asm. Avelino Valencia (D–Anaheim) and Asm. Devon Mathis (R–Visalia). Asm. Jim Patterson (R–Fresno) is also listed as a coauthor.
- AB 1772 would require anyone who has two or more prior convictions for specified retail theft offenses to be put in prison or county jail if they are convicted of petty theft or shoplifting.
- California voters would have the final say, however, as the bill would head to the next general election if it passes through the Legislature.
What they’re saying: “Unfortunately phony propositions that promise safety actually increased lawlessness, and that’s Proposition 47,” Patterson said in a press conference on Monday. “It is self-evident to the people of California that when you make a felony theft a misdemeanor, you give them a traffic ticket instead of jail time, the criminals are going to figure out that there’s a game here that they can play, and they can win.”
- Patterson said that he is tired of the Legislature deciding that the fate of repeat criminals is more important than the fate of repeat victims, adding that AB 1772 is a good start that makes perfect sense.
- “I look forward to continuing with my colleagues here to convince the people of California that when they go to the ballot box, and they mark for this piece of Legislation, that they will start the pendulum back from where it is now – which is retail theft and thieves that have no consequences whatsoever – back to where we can start holding them accountable,” Patterson said.