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City Leaders to Urge State Lawmakers to Fulfill Promise on Proposition 47

March 1, 2016

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City Leaders to Urge State Lawmakers to Fulfill Promise on Proposition 47

(LOS ANGELES) March 1, 2016 – City and community leaders called on state lawmakers to implement the will of the people of California and local efforts to implement Proposition 47 in this year’s state budget.

Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson introduced a resolution, which was passed unanimously by the City Council, urging state lawmakers to reevaluate the formula for determining funding for reentry, drug treatment, mental health, youth development and crime victim services and include full funding for this key public safety priority in the June budget.

“We are calling on our leaders in Sacramento to ensure local communities, especially here in Los Angeles, have the resources they need to properly fund services, and to ensure we have the ability to meet our public safety needs,” said Councilmember Harris-Dawson. “Proposition 47 is saving the state millions in reduced prison and other costs, but if we don’t uphold the law and reinvest that money in our local communities, we are setting ourselves up for failure.”

“Voters passed Proposition 47 under the promise that cities and counties would receive money to implement robust services for lower level drug and theft offenders in the form of substance abuse programs, alternative housing and more,” said Councilman Joe Buscaino. “Unfortunately, we have yet to see any of this funding, which is why we are calling on the state to fully fund the promise it made to voters and make Prop 47 what voters intended it to be: not only the reduction of some felonies to misdemeanors, but also significant funding for alternative programs to help break the cycle of petty thefts and drug abuse.”

“For decades our neighborhoods have been starved of the necessary resources to support youth development and treatment services,” said President & CEO Alberto Retana of Community Coalition in South Los Angeles. “We join Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson in urging Sacramento lawmakers to do the right thing and fully fund Prop 47, a key public safety priority in the June budget.”

In November 2016, voters passed Proposition 47, which changes six of the lowest level nonviolent crimes, such as simple drug possession and shoplifting under $950, from felony/wobblers to misdemeanors, and apply the savings from these diverted inmates to grants within public and social services throughout the State.

The governor estimated $29.3 million in savings from Prop 47 in his January state budget proposal, whereas the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst Office estimated $100 million higher than what the Governor proposed. Therefore the state’s legislative analyst recommends a reevaluation of the methodologies for determining funding owed to local communities by the state.

This has dramatic impacts for the City and County of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles County Public Defender and Alternate Public Defender estimate approximately 690,000 residents in Los Angeles County eligible for reclassification under Proposition 47.  The reevaluation of the SNSF formula will provide additional funds to the City and County for reentry, recidivism, and supervision programs for the impacted population, and help local officials implement the will of the people.

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