Facing intense opposition from law enforcement groups, a measure to limit police seizures of cash, cars and other property from people not convicted of a crime fell flat in the California Assembly on Thursday, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The measure, by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), would curb the use of a 1980s drug war-era U.S. law, which allows local agencies that work with federal officials to keep such assets if there’s suspicion they were used in a crime or are the proceeds of illegal activity.
Critics of the forfeiture law say the practice is being abused to plug budget gaps in police departments.
The bill would require law enforcement to return confiscated property unless there is a criminal conviction.
The proposal has been scaled back as it has journeyed through the Legislature. But it is still fiercely opposed by law enforcement groups, who argue the measure would constrain their partnerships with federal agencies.
The bill was opposed by Republicans and some Democrats, and failed on a 24-41 vote in the Assembly. It could be revived on the floor in the future, but the deadline to pass bills this year is Friday.