California residents to vote on reforms to Proposition 47 | WORLD
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California residents to vote on reforms to Proposition 47

An inmate at the Madera County Jail in 2013 is escorted by a guard. Associated Press/Photo by Rich Pedroncelli, file

California residents to vote on reforms to Proposition 47

The group Californians for Safer Communities on Thursday said it will be submitting 900,000 signatures to get proposed reforms to Proposition 47 onto the state’s November general election ballots. The Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act only needed 546,651 signatures to get onto the Nov. 5 ballots.

What is Proposition 47? California voters passed the law in 2014, making it only a misdemeanor to rob stores if the products stolen were worth less than $950. It also relaxed penalties for possessing certain federally illegal drugs. The law did not apply to individuals who had prior convictions of certain criminal charges or were registered sex offenders.

What effect did that have on California? The homelessness rate in California has increased by 51 percent since the passage of Proposition 47, according to the text of the law proposed by the CSC, while the homelessness rate in the rest of the country decreased by 11 percent during that same time period. Meanwhile, drug overdoses kill more people than car wrecks in California, according to proponents of the new law. Additionally, the Californians for Safer Communities group said repeated and organized retail theft has spiked, and inner-city stores have had to shut down.

What do these reforms to Proposition 47 entail? The new law seeks to provide harsher punishments for repeated retail theft and so-called “smash and grab” thefts. It also seeks to incorporate fentanyl into the list of drugs users are prohibited from possessing in large quantities. The reforms also seek to provide more punishments for drug dealers who have firearms on their persons while they’re selling drugs. It also seeks to warn drug dealers that the state can charge them with murder if someone dies from their drugs.

Dig deeper: Read Addie Offereins’ report in Compassion about San Francisco cracking down on open-air drug markets.

Josh Schumacher

Josh is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. He’s a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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