Citrus Heights Sentinel Logo

Shoplifting: Citrus Heights council votes 4-1 to support SB 316

Vice Mayor Bret Daniels speaks in favor of supporting SB 316 during a March 23 Citrus Heights City Council meeting.

By Phillip Pesola–
The Citrus Heights City Council voted last week to send a letter of support to the State Senate for SB 316, which would increase penalties for serial theft.

‌On March 17, the city received a request from the office of Senator Roger Niello, (R-Fair Oaks) seeking City Council support of Senate Bill 316.

‌A press release from his office explains the reasoning behind the new bill as a response to the voter-approved Proposition 47 in 2014, which reclassified select categories of crimes as misdemeanors — including shoplifting of property that does not exceed $950 in value. Niello’s office says the proposition led to “dangerous unintended consequences, opening up businesses and individuals to increased economic and psychological damage.”

SB 316 would increase the penalty for petty theft to a felony if the offender has previously been convicted of three theft-related crimes.

‌During last week’s council meeting it was noted that other similar bills are being considered, and that some have failed in the past.

Councilwoman Porsche Middleton said she’s seen smash-and-grabs and an “over-run of robberies happening in our community” but expressed concern with supporting the bill, questioning whether it would work and noting that the proposed legislation could change as it makes its way through the legislative cycle.

“This will be the second time folks have tried to repeal Prop 47, and if it does not have bipartisan support, it’s not going to work,” said Middleton. “[W]ith three other bills that look similar to it, this early in a two-year cycle, it just seems that we should take our time on this and wait.”

‌Vice Mayor Bret Daniels spoke in support of SB 316, blaming “a state legislature that has cared more about criminals than victims” and “nefariously” titled propositions in the past that he said have tricked voters into supporting them.

“It’s disgusting and it needs to be remedied,” said Daniels. “We need to show the legislature that we support the effort to fix what was definitely a travesty on the California voters when they ended up supporting the original bill.”

‌The council approved a motion to send a letter of support for SB 316 by a vote of 4-1, with councilwoman Middleton being in opposition and Mayor Tim Schaefer, Vice Mayor Daniels, and council members Jayna Karpinski-Costa and MariJane Lopez-Taff being in support.

‌The bill is set to be considered at the next Senate Committee on Public Safety hearing, which is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 28. The hearing will take place at 1020 N Street, Room 545, Sacramento, and is open for public comment either in person or by phone. The phone number and additional information is posted the committee’s web page.

Like local news? Sign up for The Sentinel’s free email edition and get two emails a week with all local news and no spam, ever. (Click here)