A recent move by California Democrats to reject a Republican-backed bill aimed at increasing the penalties for sex crimes has drawn sharp criticism from Assembly Member Joe Patterson. The bill, titled Violent Felonies, sought to classify domestic violence, human trafficking and other sex crimes as violent crimes in the state.
Patterson, who represents Granite Bay in Placer County, accused Democratic lawmakers of playing “partisan politics” by rejecting the bill. Under current California law, human trafficking is classified as a non-serious and non-violent crime.
The Republican assembly member expressed concern over the safety of Californians and urged lawmakers to prioritize the well-being of citizens over political affiliation. “I’m more concerned about protecting the safety of Californians, but it seems like some legislators are more interested in partisan politics,” he said in a statement to Fox News Digital.
However, just a day later, Democrats approved a bill aimed at increasing criminal penalties for theft and property damage of high-value property. The move has led to accusations of hypocrisy and further fueled allegations of political maneuvering.
California Democrats kill harsher penalties for sex crimes, favor stricter punishments for high-value theft https://t.co/NZtTpfDnfD
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 19, 2023
Assembly Bill 229 was rejected by the Democrat supermajority, with six Democrats voting against the bill and only two Republicans in favor. The rejection of the bill has sparked renewed debate over California’s approach to sex crimes and the need for tougher penalties.
Critics argue that the rejection of Assembly Bill 229 sends the wrong message to victims of sexual assault and human trafficking, while proponents of the Democrat-backed bill argue that it will help to deter theft and property damage.
Top California Dem defends controversial no vote on bill to increase penalties for sexual assault https://t.co/iKb7mNpMYt
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 23, 2023
The debate over criminal justice reform in California is likely to continue, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle continuing to push for legislation that reflects their respective priorities.