Newsom and Democrats Debate Removing Prop 47 Reform From November Ballot

 June 9, 2024

California Governor Gavin Newsom and the state's Democratic leaders are engaged in intense negotiations to potentially withdraw a reform measure for Proposition 47 from this November's voting slate.

According to Fox News, GOP members assert that voters should decide on the changes, accusing Democrats of stifling discussions on law updates.

Proposition 47, which was enacted in 2014, has adjusted some theft and drug-related felonies to misdemeanors, but only if these crimes involve values below certain thresholds. This piece of legislation has since been a point of contention, with many arguing it has led to increased theft. Supporters of the reform claim that adjustments to the proposition would better address California's crime issues. They managed to gather 910,000 signatures to push the initiative towards a public vote, which proposes harsher repercussions for repeated theft offenses and would categorize fentanyl possession as a felony.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, however, prefers the legislative process over direct voter initiatives, believing it provides more flexibility to adapt and achieve public safety objectives. He said, "Why have something on the ballot that doesn't achieve the goals that are intended? Why do something that can be done legislatively, with more flexibility? I think it's a better approach."

Republican Leaders Call Out Democratic Strategies

Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher has criticized Democratic tactics, urging them to halt what he sees as political maneuvering and let the reform of Prop 47 be decided by Californians themselves.

Some Democratic legislators have responded by suggesting amendments to public safety bills that would block these laws from taking effect if Proposition 47 reforms are passed. This strategy, labeled by Republicans as "poison pills", is said to considerably hinder the enactment of voter-approved measures.

In response, Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones expressed strong opposition to these amendments, emphasizing the need to empower law enforcement and modify existing crime laws through both legislative action and direct votes.

Detailed Public Reaction and Legislative Steps

With the deadline for defining the November ballot set for June 27, Democrats are in a challenging position to decide whether or not to proceed with including the Proposition 47 reforms.

This scenario brings a packed schedule of negotiations involving multiple stakeholders, as described by Gov. Gavin Newsom who mentioned, "There’s a lot of moving parts, a lot of negotiations concurrently happening."

Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones elaborated on the opposition's stance, "Unfortunately, some Democrat politicians are too prideful to admit their mistake with Prop 47 and they continue to deny the desperate lung for reform. The Democrats’ poison pill amendments are a cynical attempt to mislead voters and prevent the necessary overhaul of sorts of broken laws."


The proposed amendments and the intention to remove the Proposition 47 reform initiative from the ballot suggest a complex political landscape.

Democrats aim to adjust the public safety laws while ensuring they align with broader safety goals without necessarily putting these changes to a public vote.

As the calendar edges closer to the ballot certification deadline, all eyes will be on the decisions that shape California's approach to crime and public safety policy, determining whether legislative action or public involvement through the ballot will prevail in guiding the future of Proposition 47.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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