Anderson Works Across the Aisle to Improve the Justice System, California's Small Businesses, and Public Safety

Four bills Anderson authored with Democrats became law over the weekend.
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Governor Brown has signed SB 1437, AB 237, SB 215, and AB 1065 which are bills authored by Democrats that State Senator Joel Anderson signed onto as a joint author or coauthor.

SB 1437 (Felony Murder Rule Fix) – Anderson joint authored Senator Nancy Skinner’s (D-Berkeley) bill to fix the "felony murder rule" by requiring that a person could only be prosecuted if they were the actual killer, shared intent to kill, were a major participant in the underlying felony and acted with reckless indifference to human life or if a peace officer was killed.

In his letter to Brown, Anderson asserted, “I have always believed in second chances. Particularly for those who strive to improve themselves. ” He concluded, “By signing SB 1437, you can help us take another step closer to a fair and balanced criminal justice system.”

Anderson’s floor speech is available at

AB 237 (Pilot Program for Increased Access to Responsible Small Dollar Loans) –  Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) introduced this bill, coauthored by Anderson, to increase the upper limit on the amount of a permissible loan under the existing pilot program from $2,500 to $7,500.

In his letter to Brown, Anderson wrote, “I support this bill because it expands access for safer consumer loans for unbanked and underbanked borrowers with inadequate credit histories… I urge you to help further support the livelihoods of California’s small business owners with this bill so they can continue to contribute so importantly to our economy.”

AB 1065 (Organized Retail Theft) – Authored by Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Sr. (D- South Los Angeles) and coauthored by Anderson, this bill formally criminalizes organized retail theft when a person steals multiple times within the same year, receives stolen goods in concert, or assembles individuals to commit organized theft.

In his letter to Brown, Anderson argued, “While current law criminalizing theft exists, none that specifies organized theft and how to properly deal with it is currently in use. If allowed to continue, organized theft will persistently harm businesses—especially small businesses.”

SB 215 (Mental Health Diversion Program) – This bill was introduced by Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose) and coauthored by Anderson to modify the existing mental health diversion program, which can grant pretrial diversion to a defendant if the court believes their mental illness played a role in the commitment of their crime. This modification would require that certain crimes such as: murder, manslaughter, sex crimes requiring registration, and use of a weapon of mass destruction all be ineligible for this program. It also allows the court to decide if restitution is owed to the victim, without disqualifying the defendant for the diversion program if they cannot pay restitution.

In his letter to Brown, Anderson explained that this bill prevents individuals with a mental illness who commit dangerous crimes from being diverted, and “helps correct the problem that many judges faced when they lacked the authority to grant traumatized victims restitutions.”