Newsom, Democrats Negotiate Prop 47 Reform, GOP Wants Voter Decision

 June 8, 2024

California Governor Gavin Newsom and Democratic leaders are in heated negotiations to keep a Proposition 47 reform measure off the November ballot. Republicans insist on letting voters decide if parts of the initiative should be repealed.

Fox News reported that Prop 47, approved in 2014, reclassified several crimes as misdemeanors instead of felonies, leading to ongoing debates about its impact on crime rates.

Governor Newsom and Democratic leaders are working tirelessly to prevent a Proposition 47 reform measure from appearing on the November ballot. Prop 47, passed in 2014, downgraded several crimes, including shoplifting and grand theft, to misdemeanors if the value was under $950. This change also reduced penalties for personal use of most illegal drugs.

Negotiations Intensify Over Ballot Measure

The initiative has been linked to a rise in theft across California, drawing criticism from law enforcement and businesses. Supporters of the reform have gathered 910,000 signatures, pending verification, to place the measure on the ballot. Some Democratic lawmakers are proposing inoperability clauses in public safety bills to avoid inconsistencies if voters approve the reforms.

Republicans have voiced strong opposition to these clauses, labeling them as "poison pills" intended to mislead voters. The proposed reform aims to enhance penalties for repeat thefts and reclassify fentanyl possession as a felony. Democrat Senate Pro Tempore Mike McGuire argues that a legislative approach is preferable to a ballot measure for addressing public safety.

Democrats Push for Legislative Solutions

Governor Newsom and some Democrats are pushing a package of public safety bills to tackle organized retail theft and other crimes. Republican leaders sent a letter condemning the "poison pill" clauses in the proposed legislation. The debate continues on whether crime should be addressed through legislation or voter-driven initiatives.

"There’s a lot of moving parts, a lot of negotiations concurrently happening. Prop 47 is included," said Governor Newsom. The California secretary of state has until June 27 to certify the November ballot, leaving a tight timeline for these negotiations. Proponents of the reform argue that the legislative package offers more flexibility and efficacy.

Impact on Crime and Public Safety

The controversy over Prop 47 highlights the broader issue of how to effectively combat crime in California. Republicans argue that Democrats are too proud to admit their mistakes with Prop 47 and are now trying to prevent necessary reforms. They believe that strengthening laws both legislatively and at the ballot box is essential to curbing crime.

Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones said:

To combat the California crime wave, we need to strengthen our laws, both in the Legislature and at the ballot box. It's irresponsible to force voters into a false choice between the two. Unfortunately, some Democrat politicians are too prideful to admit their mistake with Prop 47 and they continue to deny the desperate need for reform. The Democrats’ poison pill amendments are a cynical attempt to mislead voters and prevent the necessary overhaul of our broken laws.

Republicans Advocate for Voter Decision

Republican leaders argue that the voters should have the final say on Prop 47 reforms. They believe that the proposed legislative solutions do not adequately address the crime wave and that Democrats are using political tactics to avoid accountability.

"Democrats need to stop playing politics with public safety and let voters decide on fixing Prop. 47. These poison pills show that Democrats aren't serious about ending the crime wave – they just want to look like they’re doing something because their years-long support for criminals has become a political liability," said Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher.


In the coming weeks, the outcome of the negotiations will determine whether the Prop 47 reform measure will appear on the November ballot. The debate underscores the tension between legislative action and voter-driven initiatives in addressing public safety. Governor Newsom and Democratic leaders favor a legislative approach, while Republicans advocate for letting voters decide. The discussions reflect broader concerns about crime rates and the effectiveness of current laws.

In conclusion, the negotiation over Prop 47 reforms is a critical issue in California politics. As both sides debate the best approach to tackle crime, the state's residents await the final decision on whether they will have a say in the November ballot.

About Victor Winston

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

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