Little did California voters know, when they approved a 2014 ballot measure that reduced penalties for certain theft offenses, that their decision would still be making headlines in 2022.
On Tuesday, Democratic Assemblymember Rudy Salas of Bakersfield introduced a bill that, if passed by state lawmakers and a majority of voters, would reverse a key aspect of Prop. 47 by moving the felony threshold for petty theft and shoplifting from $950 back to $400.
Salas said, “Enough is enough, we need to fight back against the criminals who are stealing from our communities. We have seen the unintended consequences of Prop. 47’s weakening of our theft laws and I believe California voters are ready to make their voices heard on this issue again.”
Salas’ statement sharply contrasts with those from prominent Democrats including Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta, who have repeatedly emphasized that Prop. 47 has nothing to do with California’s surge in smash-and-grab robberies. But it could help Salas, who’s running for the U.S. House of Representatives seat currently held by Republican David Valadao, court GOP voters — many of whom blame Prop. 47 for the uptick in organized retail crime.
Indeed, a few hours after Salas unveiled his bill, a group of Republican state lawmakers — including Assemblymembers Kevin Kiley of Rocklin, James Gallagher of Yuba City and James Patterson of Fresno — introduced a proposal to repeal Prop. 47 altogether.
Other issues addressed this week include:
* A bill from Democratic Assemblymembers Phil Ting of San Francisco, Chris Ward of San Diego and Mike Gipson of Gardena that would make it easier for gun violence victims to sue firearm companies that behave “recklessly, negligently or irresponsibly.” The proposal would effectively remove a loophole in a 2005 federal law that shields gun makers from responsibility when their products are used to commit crimes.
* Gipson plans to introduce a bill that would allow any Californian to file a private lawsuit against anyone who makes or sells “assault weapons” and ghost gun kits in the state. If that sounds familiar, it’s because Newsom pitched the idea in December as a way to clap back at the U.S. Supreme Court letting stand a similarly structured Texas law that bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy.
* Another controversial bill appears to be dead for the year: Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco on Tuesday shelved a proposal that would have banned some types of surgeries on intersex children until age 12, when they’re considered old enough to participate in the decision.