Ballot Initiative seeks to fix some of the flaws of AB 109 and Propositions 47 and 57
A statewide ballot initiative called the “Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2018” has been submitted to the Attorney General for title and summary by a coalition of public safety proponents. This proposed initiative seeks to enact several critical reforms including preventing the early release of violent offenders, repairing the state parole system, reinstating DNA collection for a number of misdemeanor crimes and holding serial thieves accountable. The California Public Safety Partnership (CAPSP), the coalition behind the initiative, aims to qualify the initiative for the 2018 November general election. There will need to be 365,880 valid signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot.
Prop. 47 was a 2014 initiative which reduced several felonies to misdemeanors and has often been widely cited as a contributing factor to the massive surge in serial theft and an overall rise in statewide crime. Prop. 47 made all thefts under $950 misdemeanors, even for repeat offenders. Prop. 47 also eliminated DNA collection for misdemeanors. Prop. 57 was a 2016 initiative which was billed to the public as allowing early release for non-violent offenders.
CAPSP’s proposed initiative would allow serial theft to be charged as a felony for people who are convicted of a third theft of property worth $250 or more. It would also allow thefts committed by organized snatch-and-grab theft rings to be charged as felonies. The initiative will still allow early release of non-violent offenders but will add to the list of violent crimes for which early release is not an option. The initiative also plugs a gaping hole in the state parole system that was created by AB 109, a 2011 law that eliminated a return to prison for parole violators. The effects of Assembly Bill 109 (AB 109) were thrust into public view with the February 2017 murder of Whittier Police Officer Keith Boyer. The gang member who allegedly gunned Boyer down had violated his parole five times, but each violation got him nothing more than a few days in county jail, allowing him to continue to roam the streets.
According to Michele Hanisee, President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys,
The state Legislature has turned its back on public safety. We have had enough, and we are taking powerful action to protect California’s decent, law-abiding residents.