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California Voters To Weigh Reducing Some Felonies To Misdemeanors

An initiative that would convert some low-level theft and drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanors qualified Thursday for California’s November ballot. It’s the sixth measure to go before voters this fall.

The initiative would reduce sentences for some low-level drug possession, petty theft and check forging crimes by classifying them as misdemeanors instead of felonies. There would be exceptions for registered sex offenders and people previously convicted of rape, murder or child molestation.

The projected hundreds of millions of dollars in savings would go toward mental health and drug treatment programs, schools and crime victims.

The measure made the November ballot on the final day allowed by law — though the Legislature can, and often does, change the rules for its own ballot measures.

For example, lawmakers are still weighing whether to swap the $11 billion water bond currently on the ballot with an alternate one.

Whatever happens, it’s clear Californians will see fewer measures this fall than the 11 they voted on in November 2012.

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