Polling showed crime was top of mind for many Californians heading into November’s election. And Republicans in the state Assembly are introducing a slate of bills they argue will help make the state safer.

The measures, highlighted at a Monday press conference, include stiffer penalties for repeat shoplifters, reinstating enhanced punishment for gun crimes and undoing a ballot initiative that downgraded sentences for certain offenses.

Republican leader James Gallagher, of Nicolaus, said he was optimistic the bills would receive support from Democrats, who make up more than two-thirds of the Legislature.

“We’re willing to work with anyone,” he said.

Gallagher and other Republicans painted a grim picture of crime in the state, invoking the recent shooting deaths of two Riverside County deputies and mass shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay.

Violent crime in California increased in 2021 but it was well below levels seen in the early 1990s, the Public Policy Institute of California reported in October. Annual rates have also stayed relatively stable over the last decade, according to the think tank.

“We don’t need more gun control,” said Corona Assemblyman Bill Essayli. “We need crime control.”

Assemblyman Juan Alanis, of Modesto, announced a bill that he said would repeal almost all of Proposition 47, a 2014 initiative that reduced certain theft and drug possession offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. It also allowed people serving time for those crimes to petition judges for resentencing.

“Criminal acts must have real consequences,” said Alanis, an officer with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department before he was elected in November. “Proposition 47 is a failed experiment which has only catered to criminals here in California.”

The measure faces tough odds: A similar bill failed to get through the Assembly Public Safety Committee last year. Even if it passes the Legislature, voters would have to approve the repeal.

Beyond that, Alanis called for ending the “war on cops” and doing more to address mental health, drug and housing issues in the state.

©2023 The Sacramento Bee. Visit sacbee.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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