California voters to decide whether to reform state's crime measure Prop 47

Proposition 47 was passed by California voters in 2014

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California voters could soon get the chance to weigh in on the future of Proposition 47.

Shirley Weber, California’s secretary of state, announced on Tuesday that an initiative to reform the proposition qualified for this year's November ballot.

Proposition 47 was passed by California voters in 2014. Critics have long stated that the proposition is causing more crime because it loosens the punishment for some nonviolent crimes around theft and drug crimes.

“We are going town by town in San Diego County and across the state in order to put the initiative on the ballot in November to fix the places that Prop 47 has failed us, especially in retail theft, where theft now really has almost been decriminalized," San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said in an interview with NBC 7 in March. "People can now steal 20 times or 54 times. So long as it's $950, it is always a misdemeanor."

Authors of the revisions to Proposition 47 laid out details of the measure, which include:

A. Provide drug and mental health treatment for people who are addicted to hard drugs, such as fentanyl, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

B. Add fentanyl to existing laws that prohibit the possession of hard drugs while armed with a loaded firearm.

C. Add fentanyl to existing laws that prohibit the trafficking of large quantities of hard drugs.

D. Permit judges to use their discretion to sentence drug dealers to state prison instead of county jail when they are convicted of trafficking hard drugs in large quantities or are armed with a firearm while engaging in drug trafficking.

E. Warn convicted hard drug dealers and manufacturers that they can be charged with murder if they continue to traffic in hard drugs and someone dies as a result.

F. Reinstate penalties for hard drug dealers whose trafficking kills or seriously injures a drug user.

G. Increase penalties for people who repeatedly engage in theft.

H. Add new laws to address the increasing problem of "smash-and-grab" thefts that result in significant losses and damage, or that are committed by multiple thieves working together.

To read the entire initiative click here.

The ballot measure recategorized some nonviolent offenses, from felonies to misdemeanors. Now, some local leaders are saying we need to correct what Prop 47 got wrong when it comes to repeat offenders. NBC 7's Kelvin Henry reports on March 23, 2024.

People who support Proposition 47 in its current form said it has left to much-needed reforms.

“We know from recent history that simply responding to some of these challenges by locking people up and providing no treatment, no rehabilitative services to help them improve their lives, the safety outcomes that we are gonna get from that really are going to pale in comparison to what we can achieve from a public safety perspective when we actually invest resources in trying to prevent crime and harm from occurring in the first place,” Will Matthews of Californians for Safety and Justice said.

Weber plans to certify the initiative as qualified for the November ballot.

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