Governor Newsom withdrew an anti-crime measure shortly after its initial announcement

Governor Gavin Newsom has made a surprising decision to withdraw the recently announced anti-crime measure, which he and Democratic legislative leaders had unveiled. The measure was intended to counter a Republican and prosecutor-backed initiative already slated for the November ballot.

In a statement, the governor explained that Democrats were unable to meet the ballot deadline to secure necessary amendments for the measure’s success, leading to its withdrawal from consideration.

Earlier today, the Democratic proposal successfully passed the Assembly’s public safety committee on a party-line vote and was scheduled for floor votes Wednesday night to meet the Nov. 5 ballot deadline.

Just on Monday, Newsom, Senate leader Mike McGuire, and Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas had issued a joint statement advocating that their plan would enhance public safety without reverting to costly mass incarceration or the failed “war on drugs” that disproportionately impacted communities of color.

The Democratic bill aimed at making less sweeping adjustments to Proposition 47, a voter-approved measure from 2014 that reclassified certain property crimes as misdemeanors instead of felonies, provided the stolen goods were valued at $950 or less.

However, since its unveiling on Sunday night, the Democratic proposal faced criticism from a coalition of GOP lawmakers, law enforcement unions, and prosecutors supporting the repeal of Proposition 47 already slated for the ballot, labeling it as political maneuvering and interference in elections.

In social media posts on Tuesday, Senate GOP leader Brian Jones of San Diego and Assembly leader James Gallagher of Chico both attributed the decision by Governor Newsom and Democrats to scrap their measure to public backlash.

“Grateful to everyone who contacted their representatives, signed our petition, and helped inform the public about the deceptive tactics employed by the Governor,” Gallagher wrote. “After facing strong opposition and harsh media criticism, Gavin Newsom finally responded to our demands and withdrew his lenient crime ballot measure that undermined our democratic process,” Jones commented.

Greg Totten, co-chair of Californians for Safer Communities, stated in a release later that evening, “We are pleased that the Governor and Legislature have abandoned their alternative measure and invite them to join our efforts to responsibly amend Prop 47 to address issues like retail theft, the fentanyl crisis, and homelessness.”

In his own statement, Newsom acknowledged that he and his supporters had introduced an alternative measure aimed at offering Californians a balanced and comprehensive approach prioritizing public safety, without returning to outdated and ineffective policies. This included imposing harsher penalties for repeat offenders, strengthening efforts to combat fentanyl trafficking, and expanding access to community-based drug treatment programs.

However, with the Democratic measure now off the table, Newsom announced plans to soon sign “a comprehensive public safety package that enhances criminal penalties, reinforces law enforcement and prosecutorial tools, and addresses the issue of retail theft—a significant reform effort decades in the making.”

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