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Legislators in California oppose measures on jail release transparency, homeless camps, and gun violence

Legislators in California’s Democratic-led Assembly Public Safety Committee defeated several Republican-backed bills which would have boosted the penalties for violent offenders, prohibited homeless camps near schools, and increased clarity in the process by which the state decides who is eligible for early discharge from prison.

The legislation the committee rejected on Tuesday is among many that have been dismissed since it first met in February. The committee is the first barrier that state assembly legislators submitting measures linked to public safety must pass.

To reintroduce required sentences of 20 years to life in jail for people who employ a gun in the commission of a violent crime, such as killing, kidnapping, sexual assault, harassment with a weapon, abuse against a police officer, or sexual acts with a youngster, Republican Assemblyman Bill Essayli drafted AB 328. State legislators adopted a bill in 2018 that eliminated the sentencing penalties expected to shorten prison terms.

When California politicians struggled with the horrific dual killings in Half Moon Bay and Monterey Park, Essayli initially proposed AB 328. Essayli cited Public Policy Institute of California data showing a 52% rise in gun-related deaths and a 64% rise in gun-related criminal offenses since 2019.

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