By Assemblyman Vince Fong
The recent spike in crime should be concerning to all communities throughout the state. The extremist movement to “defund the police” will only create more lawlessness and further put businesses and innocent people at risk. It should be no surprise that when various violent felony crimes were reclassified to misdemeanor status in California, our public safety was jeopardized.
Under Prop 57 in 2016, violent crimes such as rape of an unconscious person, pimping a child for sex, domestic violence, hate crimes, assault with a deadly weapon, drive-by shootings, and so on — were no longer classified as violent felonies.
Furthermore Prop 47 in 2014 changed the threshold for theft to be considered a felony from $450 to $950. I have heard from multiple store owners who have shared with me how thieves are taking advantage of this new threshold and stealing just below the $950 threshold knowing that they can get away with just a slap on the wrist if caught. Many businesses have lost many thousands of dollars due to the increase in theft since the passage of Prop 47.
We can all agree that these crimes have no place in our state and our communities. Public safety is not a Republican or Democrat issue—we all want less crime and justice for those who harm others. That is why I co-sponsored Prop 20 with my Democrat colleague Assemblyman Jim Cooper. This is a bipartisan effort where we helped collect more than 600,000 signatures to get this initiative before voters in November so that we can restore the safety of Californians across the state.
Prop 20 will restore the violent felony classification for crimes that are truly egregious and fundamentally violent. Rape, human trafficking, domestic violence and similar actions are always violent. For these specific crimes, Prop 20 would no longer allow these convicted criminals to be eligible for early release.
At a time we are seeing extremist efforts to take away resources, tools, and support for our law enforcement officers who keep us safe each and every day, we need Proposition 20 to restore balance and some common sense in our state. Under the commonsense reforms of Prop. 20, victims and society receive justice, offenders are held accountable, and public safety is preserved. Prop. 20 is a win-win-win. Vote “yes” on November 3.