As the 2023 legislative session approaches its conclusion, Senate Minority Leader Brian W. Jones (R-San Diego) has amplified his voice to call attention to California’s mounting fentanyl crisis. In a recent correspondence with Senate President pro-Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), Leader Jones expressed his concerns regarding the apparent inactivity of the proclaimed fentanyl “workgroup” and strongly emphasized the urgency of passing the bipartisan Senate Bill 44 (SB 44).
“California’s fentanyl crisis is a ticking time bomb,” Leader Jones warned. “Our commitment to addressing this issue must be unwavering and swift. The introduction of a dedicated workgroup was a step in the right direction. However, with mere weeks left in the legislative session, it’s high time we had concrete updates and measurable progress.”
Back in May 2023, Pro Tem Atkins had given Californians a beacon of hope, announcing the formation of a Senate workgroup to facilitate the passage of fentanyl-related legislation, including the promising SB 44. However, the lack of discernible progress and updates on this front has generated concerns among legislators and the public alike. Leader Jones’s letter seeks to cut through this ambiguity and seeks a clear and formal update on the workgroup’s proceedings.
Senate Bill 44, championed by Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa) and Senator Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana), has emerged as a critical piece of legislation in the fight against the fentanyl menace. The bill is designed to hold those who repeatedly deal in fentanyl accountable, emphasizing the gravity of the consequences associated with distributing this deadly drug. One of the core provisions of the bill mandates courts to inform individuals convicted of offenses related to fentanyl sales and manufacturing about the potential charges they could face for subsequent offenses, which could range from voluntary manslaughter to murder.
The harrowing statistics underscores the urgency of the matter. Almost 6,000 Californians have succumbed to fentanyl overdoses in the recent reporting period. Broken down, this translates to an alarming 110 Californians losing their lives to fentanyl overdoses every single week.
Leader Jones’s commitment to tackling the fentanyl crisis is unwavering. His proactive approach, seeking collaboration with fellow legislators across the aisle, is a testament to his leadership style—one that prioritizes the welfare of Californians above all else.
Senator Jones’s message is clear: The time for action is now. Addressing the fentanyl crisis demands bipartisan cooperation, concerted efforts, and, most importantly, an unwavering commitment to safeguarding the lives of Californians.
Jones urges action on the fentanyl crisis by passing bipartisan Senate Bill 44
SACRAMENTO – With just two weeks left in the 2023 legislative session, Senate Minority Leader Brian W. Jones (R-San Diego) delivered a letter to Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) requesting an official update about the supposed fentanyl “workgroup” launched earlier this year. Leader Jones also urges Democrat lawmakers to pass critical legislation that will help combat the fentanyl crisis such as the bipartisan Senate Bill 44.
“As we enter the final weeks of the legislative session, we are running out of time to address the fentanyl crisis and pass SB 44,” said Leader Jones. “The Pro Tem assured the public that she was forming a workgroup of senators to help move fentanyl legislation forward this year. With session coming to an end, we cannot allow this stalling to go on any longer and are formally requesting an update about this supposed working group. I stand ready to work with the Pro Tem, our Democrat colleagues, and the governor to get this legislation passed before the September 14 deadline.”
On May 9, 2023, Pro Tem Atkins assured Californians when she told CBS 8 in San Diego that the Senate created a workgroup to help pass legislation on fentanyl, including SB 44. Despite numerous requests for updates, Senate Democratic leadership has not provided any substantive information. Jones’s letter requests an official update on the workgroup.
You can read the entire letter here.
Jones urges the Pro Tem to pass the critical bipartisan legislation, Senate Bill 44 by Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa) and Senator Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) to help hold repeat fentanyl dealers accountable and ensure they are fully aware of the consequences for selling this lethal drug. Specifically, the measure requires courts to inform individuals convicted of fentanyl sales and manufacturing-related offenses that subsequent offenses could result in a charge of voluntary manslaughter or murder.
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