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Senate public safety committee kills Jones' porch piracy solution


Last updated 5/28/2020 at 7:18am

SACRAMENTO – The Senate Public Safety Committee voted down Senate Bill 979, written by state Sen. Brian Jones, R-Santee. The measure was meant to increase the penalties on people who steal packages from the porch or entryway of someone’s home.

“Some of the most vulnerable in our community, such as seniors and disabled individuals, rely on home delivery of goods for survival. During the COVID-19 crisis, vulnerable individuals unable to leave their home rely on package delivery for essential items such as medication and food,” Jones said. “Unfortunately, an increase in package delivery has also led to an increase in package theft from outside Californians’ homes. This ‘porch piracy’ epidemic is serious and needs to be addressed by our criminal justice system. Current law is weak on the punishment of this type of theft, but this bill would have increased the consequences significantly.”

Current law provides that a theft of a package from the porch or entryway of someone’s home is a misdemeanor, no matter how many repeat convictions the perpetrator may have on their record. SB 979 would have allowed prosecutors to charge the perpetrator with a misdemeanor or with a felony in the third or subsequent conviction during a 36-month period.

While the majority-party members of the Senate Public Safety Committee acknowledged the problem of increased porch piracy and the need to address it in California, they voted down SB 979.

“Some of these so-called ‘porch pirates’ are habitual offenders who keep dodging real punishment for their actions because thefts from outside a home are treated differently under current law than burglaries committed inside a home,” Jones said. “California often leads the nation in policy, and this needs to be one of those times. While the committee agreed porch piracy is a problem in the state, unfortunately, the committee did not agree that these offenders deserve a punishment that’s fit for their crime.”

SB 979 was defeated in Senate Public Safety on a 2-5 party line vote with Republican Sens. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, and Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, supporting the measure, while Democrat Sens. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley; Steven Bradford, D-Gardena; Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara; Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, and Scott Weiner, D-San Francisco, voted against it.

Sen. Brian W. Jones is chair of the Senate Republican Caucus and was elected to the California state Senate in 2018 representing the 38th Senate District which includes Alpine, Escondido, Lemon Grove, El Cajon, La Mesa, Santee, Poway, San Marcos, Lakeside, Valley Center, Rancho Santa Fe, Julian, Ramona, Rancho San Diego, Bonsall, Fallbrook, Borrego Springs and parts of the city of San Diego.


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