Californians Flock To Sign Petition To Enact Crime Reforms

Californians Flock To Sign Petition To Enact Crime Reforms

Californians of all ethnic groups, political views, and socioeconomic status flocked to sign a petition that would put a huge crime reform initiative on the November ballot.

A proposal to amend California’s crime referendum that reduced penalties for minor theft and drug possession received an “unprecedented” number of signatures, according to Fox News.

The law in question, Proposition 47, enacted in 2014, reclassified numerous felonies, such as retail and property theft, as misdemeanors. According to Prop 47, theft of goods valued under $950 is considered a misdemeanor, even for multiple offenses. Additionally, it downgraded many narcotics possession offenses from felonies to misdemeanors.

However, a ballot initiative aimed at amending Prop 47, known as the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act, garnered over 900,000 citizen signatures, exceeding the approximately 500,000 signatures needed to formally include the measure on the November ballot, Fox News added.

Sacramento County District Attorney Thien Ho, who endorsed the initiative, stated in an interview with Fox News Digital that many California residents endured hours-long waits in line to sign the petition.

“That’s how, that’s how popular it is. That’s the sentiment of people, and it’s across all spectrums,” Ho said.

“It cuts across party lines and cuts across racial lines, social and economic lines. It’s small businesses, big businesses, everyday people” who are “very passionate” about seeing reforms, he added.

Proposition 47, passed in 2014, aimed to decrease incarcerations. One key aspect of the process for implementing changes is that alterations cannot be made through legislation; they can only be enacted through direct voting by the people.

“We needed about almost 500,000 signatures in order to get it on the ballot. Instead, we ended up collecting orders and turning over 900,000 signatures. That is unheard of,” Ho said.

Fox added:

The DA said that while he is in favor of the “spirit” behind Prop 47, the law needs to be changed to stem its “unintended consequences,” which he identified as a “fentanyl crisis,” a “retail theft crisis” and a “homeless crisis.” 

Ho noted a big-box retailer in Sacramento told him that the region ranks No. 1 in theft for the company, and that one of their stores in the area saw a 253% increase in theft between 2022 and 2023.  He also said one mom-and-pop convenience store in the area reported that 6 out of 10 of their customers were committing theft.

“And then you talk about fentanyl. We see a true crisis in terms of fentanyl overdoses and deaths. Four hundred people last year died of fentanyl poisoning in Sacramento County. We see the No. 1 cause of death in our homeless population is drug overdose primarily from fentanyl,” Ho said.

If the initiative is approved, fentanyl will be added to the list of hard drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, that are illegal to possess with a firearm. Additionally, it will authorize greater consequences for selling deadly quantities.


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