A Bipartisan Push Back in California?

Bill McEwen at GV Wire reports, “Addressing shoplifting and serial thefts is a bipartisan cause in the [California] state Legislature.” But there’s a catch.

But, if history is a guide, neither of the two recently introduced bills to amend Proposition 47 will make it to the November 2024 ballot for voters to decide.

Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, introduced AB 23 last week.

The bill “hopes to hold criminals more accountable by reducing the threshold for what constitutes grand theft and shoplifting,” Muratsuchi said in a tweet. “The bill will reduce the threshold amount for grand theft and shoplifting from $950 to $400.

“This would authorize additional and stronger tools to judges as they consider the appropriate punishments for these crimes.”

It’s good to know that the Democrats who hold super-majorities in both houses are not uniformly in favor of the reckless watering down of the criminal law of the last decade, and some see the need to roll back, at least partially. So what’s the catch?

Bills to submit Prop. 47 amendments last year never made it out of committee. Neither Muratsuchi’s bill nor one submitted by Republican Josh Hoover, AB 75, is likely to make it out this year either.

This is not new. Whatever the views of the moderate Democrats, for decades now the legislative leadership of that party in California has regularly made sure that the friends of criminals dominate the criminal justice committees of both houses. The exceptions have been few and far between. Those committees have long been infamous as the places where strong criminal justice legislation goes to die.