CA Senate approves bill eliminating deadline for reducing old felony convictions to misdemeanors under Prop 47

Celeste Fremon
Written by Celeste Fremon

On Tuesday, May 30, the California Senate approved a bill eliminating the deadline by which people must apply to reduce old felony convictions to misdemeanors for low level, non-violent crimes, under voter-approved Proposition 47.

Of course the bill must be approved by the state assembly, and be signed by the governor. But this is a big first step.

The new bill, SB 749, introduced by Sen. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas (D-Los Angeles), would allow more Californians to remove the long list of restrictions and barriers placed on the lives of people living with an old felony conviction.

This new legislation, sponsored by Californians for Safety and Justice (CSJ), which is one of the original co-authors of Prop. 47.

As most readers likely know, the 2014 state ballot proposition known as Prop. 47 changed the penalty for simple drug possession, and five petty-theft related crimes, from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Pre Prop 47, California law placed approximately 5000 permanent restrictions on people living with an old felony conviction. Many of the restrictions created barriers to jobs, housing, educational opportunities, economic security, and other arenas that are important elements of redirecting the trajectory of one’s life to find a stable and legal future.

After the passage of Prop. 47, on November 4, 2014, the new law also allowed those with prior felony convictions for the same crimes that the ballot proposition reclassified as misdemeanors, to petition to have those convictions retroactively reclassified.

But, there was a deadline. Those seeking this reclassification had to file their petitions on or before November 4, 2022. If one missed the deadline, one could petition at a later date “upon showing of good cause,” and keep your fingers crossed that your good cause was good enough.

Supporters of the new bill say that, rather than keeping communities safer, these post-conviction restrictions, particularly those relating to employment and housing, cannot help but it harder for Californians to rebuild productive and full lives.

The original Proposition 47 does, however, authorize its provisions to be amended by a statute “that is consistent with and furthers its intent and that is passed by a 23 vote of each house of the Legislature.”

Authors and supporters of SB 749, say that it is indeed “consistent with” and furthers the intent of Prop 47, by amending the existing status to remove the now-past deadline and the showing of good cause requirement, allowing an estimated 390,000 plus people to file applications for record reduction.

“After someone has fully completed their sentence, we cannot continue to allow old legal records to create barriers to opportunity that destabilize families, undermine our economy, and worsen racial injustices,” said Tinisch Hollins, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice.

“As a society,” Hollins said, if “we believe in a person’s ability to rehabilitate themselves and return to the community, we cannot continue blocking them from opportunities to do so.”

Again, there are two big steps before it can become a law.

Meanwhile, in March of this year, Assemblymember Juan Alanis, R-Modesto, a longtime Stanislaus County Sheriff’s sergeant, introduced AB 335, which aims to overturn Prop 47 altogether.

Post script: We just heard from the chief of staff for Assemblymember Juan Alan who told us that his boss has amended AB 335, and added Asm. Jones-Sawyer to the legislation. Now AB 335 is a Study Bill on Prop 47, Chief of Staff Joshua Whitfield told us, instead of an overturn of the law altogether.”


More as we know it.


  • When and how could I file to my felony to be drop to a misdemeanor? I was not aware of this please help

  • I’ve only been convicted one time and I did the max on my crimes I turned my number in october.24.2022 I did eleven years on a fifteen year eight months sentence two strikes two silent strikes plus was denied the felony rule law but they mentioned my case in the new law my county number is bbs227
    My state prison number is We6746 thank you for your time.

  • Why have this information if your not goi-g to inform people how to use it? Lazy journalism is what I think! You guys keep doing the same thin over and over! Not telling the whole story!

  • I’m 62 years old I wasn’t aware of this andi hav3 been clear of b being a good citizen 14 years clean and would love the opportunity to lower my felonies to a misdemeanor

  • How does my love one sign up for this he is Serving Time in San Quentin prison For a wrongly crime he did not Commit his been in there for 21 yrs

  • Editor’s note:

    Dear readers,

    The bill referenced above has passed through the CA Senate, but still needs to make it past the state Assembly, and then to be signed by the governor. So, it is not yet a law. But approval by the Senate is a big step. We’ll keep you up to date on its progress.

    Also, if and when it does pass, and become a law, we’ll make sure we put up links in the story where someone can go to get help.

    In the meantime, find out the name of your assembly person and write them a letter explaining what you feel about the bill. It certainly can’t hurt to do so.

    ALSO, if you have other re-sentencing issues, consider contacting the group we mentioned above, namely Californians for Safety and Justice. https://safeandjust.org

    Their general email is: info@safeandjust.org

    Good luck. And take care. Thank you for reaching out.


  • Is this bill useful For the incarcerated, and the none violent strikes?
    How about evictions on rental history ? How can I get an application I live in California, riverside county

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