SACRAMENTO, Calif. —The Chairman of the California Assembly Public Safety Committee, Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer, is responding to the mounting pressure his committee is facing after his committee decided to block or stall several crime-related bills.
This week, both Republicans and Democrats have held or are scheduled to hold news conferences to speak out against the committee for not taking action on fentanyl.
The committee, which is made up of mostly progressive Democrats, has been known for blocking penalty enhancements broadly for fear of mass incarceration and the potential disproportionate impacts on Black and brown communities.
The committee has also recently been criticized for favoritism after approving a progressive Democrat’s bill that enhances penalties on high-dollar property crimes (AB 484), while rejecting numerous measures to boost penalties for domestic violence, rape of a developmentally disabled child, rape of an unconscious person, human trafficking, and the use of a gun during serious crimes, among other issues.
Jones-Sawyer’s committee for years has also blocked numerous attempts to change or toss parts of Proposition 47, the voter-approved law that changed how property crimes and retail thefts are prosecuted in the state.
“They think we should go back to incarcerating,” Jones-Sawyer said. “We’ve reduced the prison population, which is expensive and ruins lives, and the best thing to do is rehabilitation and the best way to deal with it is to stop crime at the beginning. Mr. Muratsuchi’s ultimate goal was not that.”