Prop 47 Reform Qualifies for November Ballot

It’s been 10 years since California voters passed Proposition 47, a criminal justice reform measure that downgraded a number of felonies – including drug possession and thefts of $950 or less – to misdemeanor crimes. In that time, many voters have grown disillusioned with the law, as drug use, homelessness, and organized theft have seemingly spiraled out of control. Supporters of Proposition 47 say the measure is not to blame, but even many Democrats have soured on it. This November, Californians will have a chance to reform what critics call a deeply flawed law. 

On Tuesday, state officials announced that the Homelessness Drug and Theft Reduction Act has qualified for the November ballot. The measure would alter Proposition 47 in the following ways:

  • Classify some drug crimes as treatment-mandated felonies, requiring completion of a treatment program before the felony can be dismissed
  • Increase penalties for certain drug crimes (e.g. distribution of fentanyl) and increase sentences based on the quantity of drugs sold
  • Add fentanyl to the list of drugs that warrant a felony charge if the possessor is carrying a loaded firearm
  • Allow for felony charges in cases of repeat thefts of $950 or less (two or more prior theft convictions needed)

The measure already has a swath of supporters from both parties. The measure is endorsed by San Francisco Mayor London Breed, San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan, Assemblymember James Ramos (D-Highland), and a number of public safety organizations, sheriffs, and district attorneys. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) oppose the measure.

See also:

California Democrats hold back controversial retail theft legislation amendment as Prop 47 fight continues