CalChamber-Backed Bills Target Retail Crime

Rob Bonta, Robert Rivas, Jennifer Barrera, Rick Chavez Zbur.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks at the Californians Together Against Retail Crime press conference on April 9. From right to left are Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, CalChamber President and CEO Jennifer Barrera and Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur.

Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas was joined by state legislators, CalChamber President and CEO Jennifer Barrera, and California Retailers Association President and CEO Rachel Michelin this week as he unveiled a package of bipartisan legislation to target retail theft.

At the April 9 press conference, Barrera commended the bipartisan effort, remarking that the proposals will give law enforcement the tools they need to address retail crime in a swift and effective manner.

“We know that this retail theft and organized retail crime is impacting our communities, it is hurting our small businesses, it is hurting our brick-and-mortar stores that are having to create new security measures that are costly and also change the customer experience,” she said. “We know that our customers are feeling unsafe, whether they witness the crimes in person or whether they are seeing them on TV, it does create a level of safety concerns for our customers, and we need to change that direction.”

Bills Targeting Retail Crime

The bills in the package supported by the CalChamber include the following. All passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee on April 9.

AB 1779 (Irwin; D-Thousand Oaks): Clarifies that acts of retail theft occurring across multiple jurisdictions can be charged in a single jurisdiction.

AB 1802 (Jones-Sawyer; D-South Los Angeles): Removes sunset date from organized retail crime statute, keeping it in place indefinitely.

AB 1960 (Soria; D-Fresno): Reinstates sentencing enhancements for taking, damaging, or destroying of property during the commission of a felony.

AB 2943 (R. Rivas, D-Salinas; Zbur, D-Hollywood): Creates new crimes for professional retail thieves and gives law enforcement more tools to combat career thieves.

AB 3209 (Berman; D-Palo Alto): Creates a new retail theft restraining order that allows a court to prohibit a convicted retail thief from entering a retail location or parking lot.

The provisions of some of these bills are still being worked on, and the CalChamber looks forward to developing them further with the bills’ authors as we seek to advance all possible solutions.

Staff Contact: Brenda Bass

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Brenda Bass joined the California Chamber of Commerce on January 24, 2022 as a policy advocate specializing in water supply and storage issues. She came to the CalChamber policy team from the Sacramento office of Downey Brand, where she was a senior associate. She advised public agency and private clients on environmental review requirements, as well as applying for and complying with water quality permits. She has experience with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) litigation and groundwater quality issues for agricultural and water clients throughout California. She also advised clients on Clean Water Act matters, compliance with state and federal laws governing stormwater and wastewater quality, as well as assisted agricultural enterprises with rapidly changing irrigation discharge regulations. Before joining Downey Brand, Bass practiced at a California boutique environmental firm. She also externed for a federal bankruptcy judge in Sacramento. Bass earned a B.A. in linguistics at the University of California, Davis, and a J.D. with distinction from the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, where she was primary editor of the McGeorge Law Review.