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Ramos measure would count prior convictions in determining penalties for retail theft crimes if approved by legislature and then voters

Lawmaker’s bill would result in changes to 2014 Proposition 47 initiative

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO—Prosecutors will find it easier to seek sterner penalties against retail theft suspects if a bill, AB 1772, introduced today by Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-San Bernardino) is approved by the legislature, governor and then wins voter approval. If approved, store thefts would no longer be processed as a misdemeanor with no jail time if a suspect has been convicted of two or more specified theft-related offenses, and punishment could range from imprisonment in the county jail ranging from six months to as long as three years.

Ramos said, “Shoplifting, smash-and-grab thefts, and other acts of retail theft trends are causing retailers to close their businesses and endangering customers and employees. Since the pandemic, these crimes have increased. That is not the direction California needs to go.“ He added, “The Public Policy Institute reported that the 2022 rates for commercial burglary rates had increased by almost 16 percent compared to 2019. The PPIC also reported that shoplifting in 2022 had increased by nearly 29% from the pandemic years.”

In 2014, voters approved Prop 47 by a 60% to 40% vote and categorized some nonviolent offenses as misdemeanors rather than felonies. One provision increased the threshold amount for theft misdemeanors from $450 to $950 and did not allow prior such convictions to count toward the new $950 threshold. If Ramos’s measure becomes law, it would become effective only upon voters’ consent at the next statewide election. AB 1772 does not state a new threshold for triggering the increased penalties for retail theft, only the existence of prior convictions on the suspect’s criminal record.

In February 2023, the legislator requested the state auditor to review the effectiveness of Proposition 47 to determine whether it had escalated crime rates in San Bernardino and Riverside counties and if so, what categories had been affected. The auditor’s report is expected later this year.


Assemblymember James C. Ramos proudly represents the 45th Assembly district which includes the Cities of Fontana, Highland, Mentone, Redlands, Rialto and San Bernardino. He is the first and only California Native American serving in the state’s legislature. Ramos chairs the Assembly Budget Subcommittee #6 on Public Safety.