Californians for Safer Communities Oppose “Poison Pills” in Legislative Crime Package and Urge the Attorney General to Prioritize Public Safety Over Politics

Californians for Safer Communities Oppose “Poison Pills” in Legislative Crime Package and Urge the Attorney General to Prioritize Public Safety Over Politics

Small businesses, social justice leaders, families impacted by the fentanyl crisis, and law enforcement oppose the “poison pills’ in the legislative crime package and call on the Attorney General to do what is right for Californians

Sacramento, CA, June 12, 2024 – The Californians for Safer Communities Coalition – which includes social justice leaders, small business owners, victims, community organizations, elected officials, and law enforcement – today voiced opposition to legislative leadership’s attempt to insert “poison pill” language into their legislative crime package as a way to deceive voters on the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act (Initiative 23-0017A1) that qualified yesterday for the November election ballot. The coalition also encouraged the California Attorney General, the chief law enforcement officer in the state, to maintain integrity and transparency when writing the ballot title and summary for the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act (Initiative 23-0017A1). 

Given the political gamesmanship from the legislature, the Californians for Safer Communities Coalition fears that the Attorney General could be pressured to change the description of the ballot measure to say it will weaken public safety laws. It is clear the legislative package and the ballot measure do not conflict, and the poison pill amendments are not necessary other than to try and influence the title and summary.  The legislative package and the initiative can be enacted and combined to provide a comprehensive solution to California’s crime epidemic, strengthening the state’s laws and creating safer communities. 

“We came together to draft and qualify a ballot initiative because those same politicians – in the Capitol and the Governor’s Office – have ignored our concerns. The legislature’s plan to include an automatic repeal or poison pill in their package of crime bills proves they are not serious about addressing the explosion in retail theft and the state’s fentanyl crisis. This drives home the urgent need for a comprehensive solution that cannot be undone by legislators who are out of touch with the needs of Californians.” – Greg Totten, co-chair of Californians for Safer Communities 

“We’re calling on the California Attorney General to rise above political games when writing the title and summary for the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act (Initiative 23-00017A1). We need our state leaders to focus on real solutions that address the root causes of these problems – instead of sabotaging a voter-supported ballot measure with widespread bipartisan support.” – Jeff Reisig, Yolo County District Attorney

“None of us want to return to the days of mass incarceration, and that certainly is not what we are supporting with these modest amendments to Prop. 47 included in the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act. We need a comprehensive approach to solving crime and making our communities safer with tougher penalties for trafficking hard drugs like fentanyl, tougher penalties for smash-and-grab thefts, and consequences or incentives to get those addicted to drugs the treatment they desperately need. Reverend Mac Shorty, Community RePower Movement

“Voters are calling on our government for help. These are small businesses that have been forced to shut down due to theft, the lives of countless drug addicts who need intervention, and the necessity for tougher penalties against fentanyl traffickers. This is about real people, safeguarding small businesses, saving lives, and protecting the livelihoods of our communities, not political gamesmanship. – Bobbie Allen-Singh, Mayor of Elk Grove and President of the American Petroleum and Convenience Store Association

“Every day, we see the impact of these issues firsthand; our businesses suffer, our employees feel unsafe, and our customers dwindle. It’s nearly impossible for small business owners to keep our doors open when facing rampant theft in California. It feels like our state leaders do not care about small businesses. This ballot measure must move forward, as it is designed to tackle the root causes of the problems plaguing our streets and shops.” Carlos Mendoza Meza, Owner of Bird Dog Comics

“Our state leaders have had ten years to fix the crime and drug problems plaguing our state. Had these solutions come sooner, my child, along with many others, would still be alive today. Over 900,000 California voters signed a petition to place these common-sense changes on the ballot. This compassionate approach restores safety to our communities and helps to address the fentanyl crisis. Legislative leaders are undermining the will of the voters.” Pamela Smith, Founder, Mothers in Grief Support Group

Passed in 2014, Prop. 47 achieved notable success in making California’s criminal justice system more equitable. However, it led to unintended consequences over the past decade—repeat and often organized retail theft, inner-city store closings, and difficulty convincing people to seek drug and mental health treatment—that can only be corrected by the voters at the ballot box with commonsense changes to Prop. 47. It is time for meaningful reforms to our justice system, including Prop. 47, which ensures our communities are safe. 

The Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act (Initiative 23-0017A1) will: 

  • Hold those who are committing repeated retail theft and fentanyl sales crimes accountable for the safety and health of our communities.
  • Create accountability for repeat smash-and-grab offenders who drive up costs for all Californians and chase retailers out of the state.
  • Bring back incentives and accountability needed for individuals to get into necessary drug treatment and job training programs — helping them begin new lives. Currently, those arrested multiple times for hard drug use have no incentive to choose treatment with no consequences.

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