Mushroom Alert Update!
If you haven’t been able to keep up with the goings on in the Legislature today since my earlier update, I wanted to bring you up to date. After a lengthy and contentious debate on the floor of the Senate, AB 3X 14 was passed 21-19, with all 15 Republicans and 4 Democrats voting no. You can read a statement released by Murrieta’s own Senator Dennis Hollingsworth after the vote here: http://cssrc.us/web/36/news.aspx?id=6664
My office has received an incredible number of Emails on this matter, with a very large number of you concerned about who will be immediately released or have their sentences reduced in the near future (and a few of you advocating for at least some reform for truly non-violent offenders). While some of my colleagues across the aisle claim that only “non-violent offenders” would be released early by this bill, the Sentencing Commission created by this bill would be authorized to permanently lower the criminal sentences for a whole host of specific crimes, including:
Gross vehicle manslaughter while intoxicated
Kidnapping in the commission of car jacking
Assault with the intent commit rape or other sex crimes
Assault with deadly weapons
Rape in concert
Pimping a minor
Aggravated sex crimes on a children
Felony child abuse
Child abuse resulting in death
Female genital mutilation child abuse
Lewd and lascivious acts on a child
Crimes against children under 14 and the developmentally disabled
Rape by people who know they have AIDS
Infliction of injury on a pregnant woman (with the intent to do so)
The Assembly is waiting to be called back into session so we can debate and vote on this bill. Could be any minute, or it could still be a few hours. You will be able to watch it on www.calchannel.com. Just click on the Assembly Floor Session and it will open a window. When session starts back up, the sound will come on.
One of the reasons we suspect session hasn’t been called yet is that the Speaker is trying to ensure that she has sufficient votes to pass this bill. That means continued phone calls to your legislators can be effective here.
I’ve had many responses to my earlier notice asking for us to deport illegal aliens and to establish tent-style jails in the desert as is done by Sheriff Arpaio in Arizona. This bill actually does call for the deportation of illegal alien prisoners, but unfortunately would require the Governor to commute their sentences first! I’m not sure that freeing them here and dumping them across the border will make us any safer. As for tent jails, I support this wholeheartedly. The problem with our prison system is that we are spending too much per prisoner, not that we have too many prisoners. The fact that we spend twice as much as the national average per prisoner and still have intolerable recidivism rates and health care and housing conditions that are allegedly so poor that the federal judges have ordered us to release 40,000 prisoners and spend billions more on health care is itself criminal. Fixing that is the answer to our problem, not turning criminals loose. Unfortunately, the majority party in the legislature does not see it that way, and this legislature as it is presently composed will never go for treating prisoners more harshly in tent cities.
In the meantime, we are sitting and waiting to be called back to the floor. Don’t give up hope, as the public opposition to this plan is building rapidly!
Assemblyman, 66th District