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Want to Fix Prop 47? Petition Signature 'Drive-Through' Friday in Fresno
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By Bill McEwen, News Director
Published 1 month ago on
February 29, 2024

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Fix for Prop. 47 organizers have collected about 500,000 signatures.

Ballot measure backers have until April 23 to submit 546,651 validated signatures.

Goal is to collect 800,000 signatures to ensure qualification for the November ballot.


With about 500,000 signatures gathered, organizers of the bipartisan attempt to amend California’s Proposition 47 criminal sentencing reform law are pushing to place their measure on the November ballot.

The push to qualify the measure is being led locally by Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp, who has put together a “drive-through” signature-gathering event Friday in the KMJ studios parking lot at Palm and Shaw avenues. It is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“We will have petitions there for people to sign and we will be out there all day — rain or shine,” Smittcamp said Tuesday night in an appearance on GV Wire’s “Unfiltered” podcast.

Retired Sacramento County DA Anne Marie Schubert also appeared on “Unfiltered.” She said that the group’s goal is to reach 800,000 signatures to ensure collecting the required 546,651 validated signatures by the April 23 deadline.

Petitioner signers must be registered to vote in California for their signatures to be validated.

Backers: Initiative Would Cut Drug Addiction, Homelessness, Retail Theft

The initiative would give judges and prosecutors more control over criminal sentencing outcomes, which advocates say will result in reductions in drug addiction, homelessness, and retail theft.

According to state data collected since Prop. 47’s passage, no one is ever arrested in more than 90% of reported thefts.

Opponents of amending Prop. 47 say either that the law is working as intended or that any fixes should come from the Legislature.

In a nutshell, this is how the ballot measure amends Prop. 47:

— Allows felony charges for possessing certain drugs, including fentanyl, and for thefts under $950 — both now chargeable only as misdemeanors — with two prior drug or two prior theft convictions, as applicable. Defendants who plead guilty to felony drug possession and complete treatment can have charges dismissed.

— Increases sentences for other specified drug and theft crimes.

Both Smittcamp and Schubert stressed that if passed by voters, this amended version of Prop. 47 would reduce crime while providing convicted criminals addicted to drugs with the opportunity to enter recovery programs.


Approved by a nearly 60% majority of voters in 2014, Prop. 47 reduced many non-violent crimes such as theft and drug possession to misdemeanors from felonies.

According to state data collected since Prop. 47’s passage, no one is ever arrested in more than 90% of reported thefts.

In addition, participation in drug courts and other diversion programs has dropped.

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Bill McEwen,
News Director
Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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