California’s top Republican in the state Assembly expressed frustration with the state’s rising crime rates and Democratic-led policies, which opponents claim allow offenders to continue their crimes without fear of punishment.
Assembly Minority Leader James Gallagher criticised California’s Democratic-controlled state legislature for failing to maintain peace and order by enacting laws that disregard victims in an interview with Fox News Digital. He referred to the introduction of Senate Bill 94, which would, subject to certain restrictions, permit people serving life sentences without the possibility of parole to request a resentencing.
Additionally, he pointed out that SB 14, which would have increased penalties for child traffickers and added the offence to the state’s list of serious felonies, had received support from both parties in the state Senate before moving to the Assembly, where the Democratic-led Assembly Public Safety Committee decided not to advance the measure because they opposed harsher prison terms and contended they didn’t serve as a deterrent to crime.
“They’re misplaced and totally tone-deaf with what’s going on here in California,” Gallagher said of the proposed policies.
As a result of a public outcry that spurred Gov. Gavin Newsom to step in, a revised version of the bill was approved by the committee on Friday. The Assembly Appropriations Committee also advanced SB 94.
“California Democrats continue to send a crystal-clear message to all Californians: they would rather protect violent murderers than focus their efforts on true public safety and protecting victims,” said Jessica Millan Patterson, chairwoman of the California Republican Party.
Crime in California escalated steadily after the COVID-19 epidemic as shootings, robberies, and other quality-of-life offences dominated the news and social media.
Law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles have established a task force to counteract an uptick in smash-and-grab robberies, in which groups of thieves ransack apparel and jewellery businesses. The Bay Area has also been affected by the issue.
A Los Angeles Nordstrom store was ransacked by a mob in August, and last week a Macy’s department store in the area was also attacked. There have also been thefts from establishments in Orange County, Beverly Hills, Oakland, and San Francisco, with burglars occasionally making off with goods worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Senate Bill 553 initially forbade companies from asking retail personnel to approach suspicious shoplifters and mandated businesses to keep a log of all violent occurrences against employees as well as the results of any post-incident inquiries in an effort to reduce workplace violence.
State Senator Dave Cortese, a Democrat, is the author of both SB 94 and this legislation. According to Cortese’s office, the clause prohibiting confronting shoplifters was removed this week in response to complaints from small business owners, and the bill passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
The business community continues to oppose the law because they believe it does not address the pervasive retail theft. This summer, a burglar who had been robbing a 7-Eleven in Stockton, California, had the tables turned on him, underscoring the importance of that point. The man was caught on camera casually tossing cigarettes and other stuff from behind the counter into a moving trash can as two Sikh employees observed and beat him to the ground.
Jaskaran Sahota, 55, the owner of numerous petrol stations in Northern California, claimed that rules that raised the number of stolen goods that could be punished as felonies have made theft more common.
“Theft is theft. Why would you increase it just because you’re being soft on criminals?” he told Fox News Digital. “You have criminals roaming around without any consequences.”
“How would you feel sending your wife to a convenience store? I don’t feel comfortable sending my wife or my kids to a convenience store by themselves,” he added.
In a statement to Fox News Digital, Cortese said, “All employers, including retail employers, should have a plan in place to help prevent and respond to every type of violence.”
“Furthermore, SB 553 sets a framework for a more collaborative process through Cal/OSHA (California Division of Occupational Safety and Health) to find more solutions that protect workers and business assets. After hearing from partners in many different industries, I will continue to explore ways to protect workers and businesses from the rise in workplace violence.”
Despite without having seen the amendments to SB 94 and 533, Gallagher said on Friday that Democrats were “putting lipstick on a pig.” Friday saw progress on both pieces of legislation.
“These bills never should have passed the [appropriations] committee. Yet more evidence that the Democrat majority is in denial over its self-inflicted crime crisis,” he wrote on social media.
According to a 2022 poll by the National Retail Federation, the Bay Area and the Los Angeles region were the top two regions most impacted by organised retail theft.
Critics of the surge in robberies cite a number of variables, including zero bail laws and a drop in criminal prosecutions. A progressive district attorney who has implemented what some perceive to be a criminal justice reform agenda is cited by many as an example of this.
Since entering office in late 2020, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon has faced criticism and survived two recall attempts for a series of orders that include zero bail and getting rid of criminal enhancements.
Although she was only elected in November 2022, Pamela Price, the district attorney for Alameda County, is likewise the target of a recall campaign over her use of restorative justice. She recently compared the attempt to the incident at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
“These are election deniers,” she told Fox San Francisco in July. “We had an election. We won the election by an overwhelming majority. It wasn’t a small, close election and so the people who lost, they lost, and when you lose an election, you shouldn’t be able to overturn the will of the voters. That’s what happened during the insurrection on Jan. 6.”
Voters in a June 2022 recall election defeated former San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin.
According to Gallagher, Democrats have been working on criminal justice issues for at least the last ten years. Inmates of prisons have been transferred to county jails or released, and some offences no longer carry a penalty at all.
“They like to call it criminal justice reform, but many people predicted exactly what would happen, which is it would make people even more brazen to commit crimes and that’s what’s transpired,” he said. “We now have people that will go into stores, raid stores, steal everything not nailed down and come out, and there’s little that can be done to stop them.”