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CA Crime Measure Gets 'Unheard Of' Support, 900,000 Signatures

A measure to reform a California's crime law that reduces penalties for minor theft and drug possession will appear on the November ballot, having received an "unheard of" number of signatures, Fox News reports. Proposition 47, reclassified several felonies, including retail and property theft, as misdemeanors, even for multiple offenses. It also took a broad swath of narcotics possession offenses that were previously felonies and converted them to misdemeanors. The ballot initiative to amend Prop 47, called the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act, secured over 900,000 citizen signatures required to put the measure to a vote in November, far surpassing the requirement of about 500,000. Sacramento County District Attorney Thien Ho, who supported the effort, said that some residents waited hours in line to sign the petition.  "That's how, that's how popular it is. That's the sentiment of people, and it's across all spectrums," Ho said.

Ho said that while he is in favor of the "spirit" behind Prop 47, the law needs to be changed to stem its "unintended consequences," which he identified as a "fentanyl crisis," a "retail theft crisis" and a "homeless crisis." Reforms to Prop 47 would classify repeated theft as a felony for individuals who steal less than $950 if they have two or more prior theft-related convictions. "And then you talk about fentanyl. We see a true crisis in terms of fentanyl overdoses and deaths. Four hundred people last year died of fentanyl poisoning in Sacramento County. We see the No. 1 cause of death in our homeless population is drug overdose primarily from fentanyl," Ho said. Should the initiative pass, it would add fentanyl to the list of hard drugs that are illegal to possess with a firearm and authorize tougher consequences for selling deadly quantities. Among the many signatories are California business owners who are looking for a policy change to curb crime affecting their livelihoods. Tony Konja, owner of high-end liquor store chain Keg N Bottle in San Diego, said, "the brazenness of the homeless and the brazenness of the people that come in to steal is insane."


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