Newsom proposes ways to tackle property crime without dismantling Proposition 47

(Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)

Newsom proposes ways to tackle property crime without dismantling Proposition 47

California politics, homepage news

Anabel Sosa

January 12, 2024

Gov. Gavin Newsom said he can identify with business owners and other residents who are angry

waves of

thefts from stores in California. In 2021, one of the wine stores he owns in San Francisco was burglarized at least three times.

But the problem won’t be solved, Newsom said, by amending Proposition 47, the decade-old law voters agreed to convert some felonies to misdemeanors, including theft of items worth less than $950, which leaves some people blame for an increase in thefts. Instead, he wants to tackle shoplifting with legislation to crack down on what he called professional thieves.

We can do it without reforming [Proposition 47] and going back to the voters, Newsom said Wednesday as he presented his annual budget proposal


includes $374 million to combat shoplifting. I want people to know that this is unacceptable. People must be held accountable. There’s nothing wrong with this.

When a reporter asked Newsom about Proposition 47, he turned to the screen on the podium next to him and began playing an animated bar graph showing the thresholds for felony theft. Most were higher than California’s $950.

It turns out that in Texas you have to steal more than $2,500 for it to be a crime, Newsom said.


Although other states have higher thresholds, critics of Proposition 47 argue that Texas prosecutes repeat offenders who have committed multiple counts of theft. In California, these critics say, the state does not hold repeat offenders accountable.

The Democratic governor’s comments come as some lawmakers in his own party indicate they are interested in amending Proposition 47 to address these grievances.

In calling for new legislation to expand criminal penalties for those who profit from shoplifting and car burglaries, he said in an announcement proposing six ways the Legislature can tackle theft. These laws will make California safer and strengthen the tools of law enforcement and prosecutors to arrest and hold career criminals accountable.”

He suggested ideas including pooling theft amounts


and create


Sanctions target those who resell stolen property and break into cars

to add up the theft amounts


Some attempts have already been made to tackle these crimes.

A bill from Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley)

A law

which came into effect last year

by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley)

put down


on online marketplaces where suspected stolen goods are sold, but some have expressed the need to address the loopholes.

And last year, Newsom sent more than that


$267 million to 55 California cities and counties to increase arrests and prosecutions for organized retail crime, which the Newsom administration called the largest expenditure on retail theft in the state’s history.

State lawmakers praised Newsom’s suggestions, but the prospect of those ideas turning into successful legislation


this year remains unclear.

The governor came up with some parameters and we applaud that, Kevin




Bakersfield, D), the chairman of the Assembly’s public safety committee, told The Times. We are still very open. We have a lot of different views in our caucus, so that’s not the case

to make

everything that comes off the table and nothing is guaranteed to be on the table.

McCarty and Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) filed legislation last week to address shoplifting in California, but it was little more than an empty placeholder for a bill that has yet to be drafted. McCarty said they have until March to come up with these proposals



We have several weeks and months to flush it away. “I think he’s putting his thoughts out there and we have our thoughts, so it’s early in the process,” he said. If we can forge a path forward without touching each other [Proposition] 47, we’ll take a look at that. But we’re not saying this is a done deal.

However, McCarty said that if the Legislature decided to put the issue before voters through a statewide ballot measure, it would mean rigorously addressing some of the deficiencies, not repealing it.

McCarty said


he agrees with the state’s efforts to give second chances to individuals serving time in county or state prison, he adds

and noticed

that he would be open to legislation addressing diversion and drug treatment programs.

Newly minted Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas


has appointed a select committee on shoplifting, which last month held the first of several expected hearings.

Rachel Michelin,


president of the California Retailers Assn.


who has spoken on behalf of retailers in the state, said the Public Safety Commission has not historically paid as much attention to this issue as it does now.

they are


Now the tide has turned under the new leadership of


peaker Rivas, who has made this a priority, she said.

One of Michelin’s expectations is to get legislation that will actually do something


repeat offenders. And if that means another ballot measure to amend Proposition 47, she supports it. Anything put on the ballot must be submitted by June 27, the constitutional deadline.

If we want to show that we are making changes and people want to feel like they have a say

“she said,”

they will want to be able to vote on it themselves.


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