Letter to the Editor: Legislature failures

Dear Editor:

As we end the fabulous year of 2015 and start 2016, I would just like to remind everyone how productive our state officials have been in Sacramento. They champion themselves to care about “the people” but let’s just take a look at some the whopper legislation that has come from the Capital. 

Assembly Bill 1343 which was authorized by Assemblyman Tony Thurman of Richmond passed 77-0 and 15-5 in the Senate. Governor Brown signed it into law and what this does is that for criminal cases, prosecutors should look for a plea bargain to avoid deportation for the undocumented. They made an argument for “hardship” or how the children born from undocumented parents might suffer.

It was based in case law Padilla V Kentucky (2010), about a legal resident from Honduras that was trafficking marijuana illegally. They also used the 6th Amendment of the Constitution that guarantees a criminal defense council. The purpose is that attorneys have to advise non-citizens that a guilty plea could result in possible deportation. My question is why? There are consequences for criminal activity.

Another whooper would be Senate Bill 1310 which reduces the chance of deportation for minor crimes for people that were convicted of misdemeanors. Under our current Federal law, a felony is a crime punishable by 365 days or more so this bill reduced it to 364 days instead so these crimes would be counted as misdemeanors. This means that now crimes such as theft, forgery, and fraud won’t carry such a stigma, encouraging people to be held less accountable for their criminal behavior.

Don’t forget about Proposition 47 which reduced overcrowding releasing many criminals out of jail back onto our streets. My questions are once again why? There should be consequences for criminal activity.

AB 1461 also passed and this one is called “The New Motor Voter Act.” The purpose is to encourage more people to vote in the state due to our record low turnout by automatically registering voters when they receive their driver’s licenses or state ID cards. Last year, let me remind you, that AB 60 which is called “The Safe and Responsible Driver Act (2013)” was passed in the state. This law allows the DMV not to refer to past cases of perjury or fraud for people when obtaining licenses if the person did commit criminal activity.

So in conjunction with AB 1461, AB60 not only benefits people who shouldn’t be driving in the first place, but it also essentially could lead to voter fraud because someone could be undocumented with driving privileges and registered to vote automatically. I know that some have argued that it won’t happen, but just think of the likelihood? By the way, or State Senator Tony Mendoza and our Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia both voted yes on them.

As we start 2016 I can’t wait to see what our legislators will pass this year to make our lives less safe and our communities more dangerous. It is almost unbelievable to me that they keep getting reelected after the conditions that they have created. 

Johnathan Quevedo