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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Hearing on CA retail theft draws diverse views

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Tuesday, February 13, 2024   

California lawmakers are considering a range of options to combat a rise over the last two years of felony retail theft - large-scale shoplifting - and held the latest in a series of hearings in West Hollywood on Friday. The State Assembly Select Committee on Retail Theft heard from residents, business owners and social-justice groups.

Tinisch Hollins, executive director of the nonprofit Californians for Safety and Justice, said everyone agreed on one thing.

"The retailers and folks who patronize stores deserve safety. People should be able to do business. That's not up for debate," Hollins said, "But relying on incarceration, jail and prison and arrests are not going to get us out of this problem, because it's far more complex."

Some in law enforcement have suggested in recent years that Proposition 47, passed a decade ago, has contributed to the uptick. Prop 47 raised the threshold for felony theft to $950 - so if the amount stolen is more than that, it would be a felony with jail time.

The law addressed overcrowding in the jails and has saved $750 million since 2015 in incarceration costs, diverting it to programs that address drivers of crime, including poverty, addiction and mental illness.

Hollins says fear-mongering should not be allowed to undermine criminal justice reform and notes that just 8% of people who participate in Prop 47-funded programs end up back behind bars.

"There are many who are really capitalizing off the fact that people are scared that businesses are being impacted, and that there's this perception that there's lawlessness, but the truth is, there are ways for us to intervene in this crisis, and we should be using them," Hollins said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed cracking down on resellers of stolen goods and clarifying that law enforcement can combine the value of multiple thefts to reach the threshold for felony grand theft.

Disclosure: Californians for Safety and Justice contributes to our fund for reporting on Criminal Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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