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FERC rule to spark energy transmission building nationwide; Rudy Giuliani pleads not guilty to felony charges in AZ election interference case; new digital tool emerges to help MN students with FAFSA woes; WY governor to talk property tax shifts in a TeleTown Hall.

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Israel's Prime Minister calls the new ICC charges unfair. Trump's lawyers found more classified documents in Mar-a-Lago, months after an FBI's search. And a new report finds election deniers are advancing to the fall election.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

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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