Who will blink first over Prop. 47?

Jun 12, 2024

By Cal Cities Staff

The Secretary of the State announced on Tuesday that an initiative to change Proposition 47 has qualified for the November 2024 ballot. The move comes after days of high-profile debate between legislative leaders and the group of district attorneys behind the measure.

The announcement adds new fuel to an already raging fire. At stake is a package of 14 public safety measures that includes two fentanyl bills and 12 retail theft bills. Assembly and Senate leadership said they intend to send the measures to Gov. Gavin Newsom for his signature in the next few weeks.

Cal Cities has a watch position on the two fentanyl bills and supports all the retail theft bills except for AB 2943 (Zbur and Rivas), which Cal Cities will support if amended. However, lawmakers said they will add an urgency clause to some of the bills so that they take effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature, as well as an inoperative clause if voters pass the initiative to reform Prop. 47.

Policy committees heard the bills on Tuesday and Cal Cities testified in support of them.

Earlier this week, Speaker Robert Rivas, Pro Tem Mike McGuire, and other Democrat legislators held a press conference arguing that the inoperative clauses were necessary due to conflicts between the legislation and the ballot measure — known as the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act.

The lawmakers also said that the bills take a more comprehensive approach to public safety that prevents a return to the days of mass incarceration and would avoid amending Proposition 47. The 2014 initiative reclassified some offenses under $950 as misdemeanors.

The bills made it out of their respective committees and are headed to the appropriations committee next, where lawmakers will likely insert the new clauses. Democrats expect to send the bills to the floor for a floor vote shortly after, meaning they could be on the Governor’s desk by the end of June.

Republican leaders in the Senate and Assembly held a press conference noting that while the package of bills had received bipartisan support, they are strongly opposed to the proposed inoperative clauses.   

A law passed in 2014 allows the Legislature to hold hearings and negotiate with initiative sponsors to pull measures off the ballot. As of Wednesday afternoon, there is no agreement to pull the initiative from the ballot.

This story is ongoing. For more information, contact your regional public affairs manager