State leaders announce ballot measure to crack down on property crime, fentanyl

SACRAMENTO — Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate pro Tem Mike McGuire and Speaker of the Assembly Robert Rivas, on Monday, July 1 announced a robust ballot measure to tackle property crime and the fentanyl crisis, including through targeted reforms to Proposition 47.

The proposed ballot measure would implement new penalties for repeat offenders, crack down on serial shoplifters, enhance felony prosecutions for fentanyl dealers, and increase resources for drug treatment programs.

“With targeted reforms to Prop 47, this ballot measure is a critical step forward in our efforts to strengthen California’s public safety laws and provide law enforcement with additional tools to address the growing concerns of property crime and the fentanyl crisis. This balanced approach cracks down on crime and protects our communities — without reverting to ineffective and costly policies of the past,” Gov. Newsom said.

“Californians want safer, stronger communities, and we’re delivering exactly that with this commonsense approach,” said Senate President pro Tempore Mike McGuire (D-North Coast). “These are a methodical set of measures that will crack down on retail theft and hold offenders accountable for hardcore drug crimes, without enacting the draconian policies of the ‘80s and ‘90s that devastated communities of color and cost taxpayers billions of dollars.”

“Here’s what Californians tell us: They don’t want to go back to mass incarceration, and spending billions of dollars to imprison people for years over minor offenses,” said Speaker of the Assembly Robert Rivas (D-Salinas). “Californians know that approach failed. They want tax dollars going to education, jobs, drug rehab and mental health programs. And they want smart public-safety laws on the books, enforced consistently with clear consequences. Our proposition and legislative package delivers on their priorities. It will stop fentanyl traffickers and hold those who steal from local businesses responsible for their bad actions. It will deliver real results that we can afford. We listened to Californians and are giving them a better choice.”

“Retailers have faced significant challenges with property crime in recent years across the nation,” said Rachel Michelin, president of the California Retailers Association. “Coupled with a robust retail theft legislative package, this proposed ballot measure is a smart solution that will protect our stores, employees, and customers. By establishing targeted penalties and aggregating theft amounts, this balanced approach holds criminals accountable and deters organized crime and serial shoplifters in California — without resorting to outdated and ineffective policies of the past.”

What this measure does

A property crime and fentanyl crackdown

  • Takes down serial shoplifters: Establishes penalties for repeat offenders who are convicted three times for petty theft or shoplifting within three years. Under this measure, an offender with three theft-related convictions over a three-year period, could face up to three years in jail.
  • Aggregates theft amounts: Empowers law enforcement to combine the value of multiple thefts — even from different victims — to charge a felony.
  • Cracks down on fentanyl lacers: Introduces stiffer penalties for knowingly selling or providing drugs mixed with fentanyl without informing the buyer.
  • Holds fentanyl dealers accountable: Establishes a statewide fentanyl admonishment requirement, making it easier for prosecutors to ensure drug dealers who repeatedly sell deadly amounts of fentanyl can be charged with murder if a death occurs.
  • Increases resources for drug treatment: Expands mental health and drug addiction treatment programs in communities, improving public safety.

Targeted reforms to Prop 47

Without restarting the failed War on Drugs

Under the proposed measure, the coalition seeks to implement targeted reforms to Prop 47 to allow for increased felony prosecutions, crack down on serial offenders, and hold fentanyl dealers accountable. Passed by voters in 2014, Prop 47 classified certain crimes as misdemeanors, changed resentencing laws, and created the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Fund to support rehabilitation programs and fund drug and mental health treatment. Since implementation, Prop 47 has saved taxpayers over $816 million through reduced incarceration costs. Prop 47 was previously reformed once before in 2016 — by Prop 63, which was led by then Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom.

California law is already among the toughest in the nation

California law has existing robust tools for law enforcement and prosecutors to arrest and charge suspects involved in organized retail crime, including up to three years of jail time for organized retail theft. The state has the 10th toughest threshold nationally for prosecutors to charge suspects with a felony, $950. Forty other states — including Texas ($2,500), Alabama ($1,500), and Mississippi ($1,000) — require higher dollar amounts for suspects to be charged with a felony.

California’s efforts to tackle property crime

Since Governor Newsom took office in 2019, California has invested$1.1 billion to fight crime, hire more police, and improve public safety. As part of the Real Public Safety Plan, last year the state announced the largest-ever investment to combat organized retail crime in California history, an annual 310% increase in proactive operations targeting organized retail crime, and special operations across the state to fight crime and improve public safety.

Complementing this proposed ballot measure, the Legislature is poised to pass a comprehensive and bipartisan package of legislation to further crack down on property crime. This package of bills responds to the governor’s proposed legislative framework from January that calls for the creation of new laws and expanding criminal penalties to further crack down on professional thieves — those who profit from stealing goods for resale. The legislation will bolster law enforcement’s ability to arrest suspects, create a new crime addressing organized auto burglary committed to resell stolen property, and eliminate the sunset provision for the organized retail crime statute.

For more information about the proposed ballot measure, go to

(CA Gov. Newsom’s Office Release)

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