Justice charter placed on May 6 ballot

Mia Lynn, Contributor

Proposition A, which would decriminalize abortion and low-level marijuana offenses, will be on the ballot in the upcoming San Antonio municipal elections. In addition to decriminalizing abortion and marijuana, Proposition A would ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants, make cite-and-release a permanent response to low-level misdemeanors, and create a Justice Director position. 

Proposition A was created by the organization ACT 4 SA to mitigate racial bias, keep people out of jail for low-level crimes, and decriminalize abortion and marijuana use. This proposition was added to the ballot after ACT 4 SA submitted over 35,000 signatures, 23,000 of which were from registered San Antonio voters who supported the initiative.  

“We’re really excited for what it means for the city,” Ananda Tomas, executive director of ACT 4 SA, said. “Besides winning the policy, it’s setting a direction for future policy forever.”

“Now, our city leadership will never get to say that they don’t know how we feel or what direction we want to move in,” Tomas added.

If enacted, this initiative would not legalize low-level marijuana use or abortion since legalization occurs at the state level. Instead, Proposition A would deprioritize these issues and establish that the San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) is not responsible for enforcing these laws. Similarly, enforcing citation and release would mean that those charged with non-violent misdemeanor crimes would be given a citation instead of being taken to jail. 

Additionally, this initiative would ban the SAPD’s use of chokeholds and ban no-knock warrants except in extremely dangerous cases. Finally, although many of these reforms are currently practiced by the SAPD, this initiative would make them permanent, even if a new sheriff with conflicting views was hired.   

“I think it’s a good step forward for the city,” senior Christopher Garana, a member of UTSA’s chapter of Texas Rising, said. “The important thing is getting things codified, especially with the cite and release, banning chokeholds, and any of the no-knock warrants.”  

Registered San Antonio voters will be able to vote on Proposition A on May 6 at their respective polling locations or vote early. Early voting will start on April 24 and continue until May 2.  

“Young people have the ability to turn out in this election like they never have before and make their voices heard,” Tomas said. “We will win or lose depending on the amount of young folks that go out and vote for this.”