Blue State Dems Plot To Sabotage Anti-Crime Push With Bizarre Legislative Maneuver

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Wallace White Contributor
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California Democrats are pushing a series of bills to crack down on the wave of retail theft that has rocked the state. But there’s just one catch – the bills would be repealed should a ballot measure imposing harsher punishments for certain crimes be approved.

Democrats in the California State Legislature inserted clauses into the bill package earlier this month that would repeal the laws if the ballot initiative passes. The move has enraged Republicans, who accused the Democrats of “playing games,” according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

“Democrats need to stop playing politics with public safety and let voters decide on fixing Prop. 47,” said Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher in a press release. “These poison pills show that Democrats aren’t serious about ending the crime wave–they just want to look like they’re doing something because their years-long support for criminals has become a political liability.”

The initiative, called the “Homelessness, Drug Addiction & Theft Reduction Act,” would roll back parts of the 2014 Ballot Proposition 47. It downgraded the penalties for drug possession and theft under $950 from felonies to misdemeanors. The new initiative would remove the $950 threshold for a third theft charge and would upgrade it to a felony, as well as upgrade a third drug possession charge to a felony. It would also increase jail time for repeat retail theft, and make the possession of fentanyl a felony.

Assembly Member Rick Chavez Zbur defended the alleged “poison pills,” saying the bills and the initiative should not be adopted in tandem. (RELATED: San Francisco, Infamous For Retail Theft, Opens Taxpayer-Funded ‘Empowerment Market’ Offering Free Food To Clients)

“When you add (the ballot measure), you have a whole additional group of people that can be prosecuted and jailed for very small activities,” he told the Chronicle. “The combination of those two, it’s sort of supercharging of this whole process and moving back to a period where we’re going to have much more incarceration. … Our package was never intended to be stacked on top of a one-sided ballot measure.”

Gallagher and California Senate Republican Leader Brian Jones defended the initiative and bill being passed. They stressed how Proposition 47, in their eyes, has failures that the new initiative addresses.

“While the retail theft package is commendable, the battle against crime in California requires a more robust approach, particularly addressing the failures of Proposition 47,” said Gallagher and Jones in a letter to California Speaker Robert Rivas and Senate President Pro Tempore Mike McGuire. “To truly turn back the wave of property crime that has washed over California, we must return to the voters with the Homelessness, Drug Addiction & Theft Reduction Act–a citizen-led initiative to impose additional consequences for property crime and fentanyl offenses.”

Speaker Rivas’ Office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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