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: “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 Jim Patterson of Fresno — introduced a proposal to repeal Prop. 47 altogether.
I’ve officially introduced legislation to repeal Prop. 47. It’s a quaint notion but I think stealing things should be treated as criminal conduct.
— Kevin Kiley (@KevinKileyCA) January 5, 2022
About the Author
Emily Hoeven writes the daily WhatMatters newsletter for CalMatters, a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom committed to explaining California policy and politics.