Stalled fentanyl bills to advance after pressure from advocates, law enforcement & Republican legislators.
SACRAMENTO – Assembly Republicans celebrated today’s decision to advance a series of bills fighting the fentanyl crisis to a special hearing on the issue. Insiders are calling the move a ‘major reversal’ by Democrats as the Assembly Public Safety Committee Chair, Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), was refusing to act on fentanyl bills until later this year.
Earlier in the week, Republican lawmakers, family members of Californians who lost their lives to fentanyl and law enforcement representatives held a press conference demanding action on the fentanyl epidemic that is killing 500 Californians every month. Following an announcement that Assembly Republicans would force a floor vote on a series of bipartisan fentanyl bills, Democrats agreed to move them forward in the committee process.
“I’m glad my Democratic colleagues finally recognized that a months-long delay in addressing the fentanyl crisis is not acceptable,” said Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher (Yuba City). “First, the fentanyl bills weren’t going to be heard at all. Then we were told a study session would happen this fall. Just last night, the plan was sometime over the summer. And now this morning, an announcement is made that a special hearing has been scheduled for next week. We’re making progress, but we will not rest until this poison is out of our communities and the killing spree ends.”
Natalie Page, who spoke earlier this week at the State Capitol, is the sister of a 36-year-old father who lost his life to fentanyl. “The time to act is now and I am happy to hear that there is a renewed sense of urgency at the State Capitol. We must stop enabling and hold dealers accountable for spreading this poison in our communities. This has nothing to do with Democrats or Republicans. And I am hopeful that lawmakers will advance legislation at the hearing next week,” said Page.
The bills to be heard are:
- AB 33 (Jasmeet Bains) – to establish a Fentanyl Addiction and Overdose Prevention Task Force.
- AB 367 (Brian Maienschein) – add a sentencing enhancement for fentanyl dealers who kill or seriously injure people they sell the drug to.
- AB 474 (Freddie Rodriguez) – prioritize cooperation between state and local law enforcement to disrupt fentanyl trafficking organizations.
- AB 675 (Esmeralda Soria) – prohibit carrying a gun while in possession of fentanyl.
- AB 955 (Cottie Petrie-Norris) – increase penalties for fentanyl dealers who sell on social media.
- AB 1058 (Jim Patterson) – increase penalties for those possessing large quantities of fentanyl.
Ahead of the hearing next Thursday, April 27, Republicans are urging Californians to contact the members of the Assembly Public Safety Committee to urge them to approve these bills. The Republican members of the committee have pledged to support the proposals. The contact information for the committee members is:
Video of the announcement of the special hearing is available HERE.