California Democrats kill harsher penalties for sex crimes, favor stricter punishments for high-value theft
California Republican Assembly Member Joe Patterson called out Democratic lawmakers for playing "partisan politics," after Democrats shot down a Republican bill which would increase the penalties for sex crimes. Just a day later, they approved a Democrat bill to increase the criminal penalties for theft and property damage of high-value property.
"I’m more concerned about protecting the safety of Californians, but it seems like some legislators are more interested in partisan politics." Patterson, R-Granite Bay (Placer County) told Fox News Digital.
On March 15, California Democrats killed Assembly Bill 229 by Patterson to classify domestic violence, human trafficking and other sex crimes as a violent crime in the state. Under current California law, human trafficking is defined as a "non-serious" and a "non-violent" crime.
Assembly Bill 229, titled Violent Felonies, was shot down by the Democrat supermajority with six Democrats voting against Patterson's bill and the two Republicans voting in favor.
Assembly Public Safety Committee Chairperson Reggie Jones-Sawyer, a Democrat, did not respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment.
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A day after voting against Patterson’s bill, the committee considered Assembly Bill 484 by Assembly Member Jesse Gabriel, D-Woodland Hills (Los Angeles County), to impose sentence enhancements on people convicted of taking, damaging or destroying property worth more than $275,000.
Assembly Bill 484, titled Sentencing enhancements: Property Loss, received bipartisan support with five Democrats and 2 Republicans voting in favor of Gabriel's bill.
"Doesn’t really make sense to me why Capitol Democrats don’t feel like domestic violence and human trafficking should be a violent crime, but damaging property is worthy of harsher penalties." Patterson told Fox News Digital. "Their priorities are inconsistent at best."
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Some lawmakers agreed with Patterson.
"It feels like a very slippery slope here when we’re talking about enhancements," said Assembly Member Liz Ortega, D-Hayward, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "We can’t say yes to some and no to others."
On March 15, Democrat lawmakers advanced Assembly Bill 467 and Assembly Bill 304, which would make it easier for lawmakers to modify domestic violence restraining orders and provide resources of people who have convicted of domestic violence crimes.
The advancement of the two bills, Assembly Bill 467 and 304, furthered Republicans' arguments that Democrat lawmakers were being hypocritical regarding their collective effort to kill Patterson's bill on domestic violence and sex crimes.