Task forces and increased coordination are better than nothing, but Californians are demanding accountability.
SACRAMENTO – Today, radical Democrats on the Assembly Public Safety Committee killed bipartisan, common-sense bills to impose meaningful consequences on fentanyl traffickers who are killing hundreds of Californians every month with poison-laced counterfeit drugs. While the Committee did advance bills to create a task force to study the issue and increase coordination between different levels of law enforcement, Democrats sided with criminals and against innocent families by rejecting multiple bills to hold dealers accountable.
“Despite all the talk, the extremist legislators who opposed these bills guaranteed that innocent Californians will continue to die, victims of drug dealers profiting off poisoning our communities,” said Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher (Yuba City). “These bills were not criminalizing addiction, returning to the “war on drugs,” or any other lie told by the pro-fentanyl lobbyists. They were reasonable, bipartisan proposals to save lives.”
“The Assembly Public Safety Committee has turned their backs on families who have lost children and loved ones to fentanyl overdose,” said Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno), author of AB 1058. “They aren’t interested in justice and as a result we will continue to have injustice for the victims of fentanyl poisoning. Today the Public Safety Committee welcomed drug dealers with open arms. We should be welcoming them into closed jail cells.”
The committee killed the following bills:
- AB 367 (Maienschein) – add a sentencing enhancement for fentanyl dealers who kill or seriously injure people they sell the drug to.
- AB 1058 (Jim Patterson) – increase penalties for those possessing large quantities of fentanyl.
The committee punted on the following bills, making it unlikely they will make a difference in the fentanyl epidemic:
- AB 675 (Soria) – prohibit carrying a gun while in possession of fentanyl, amended to make violations more difficult to prove.
- AB 955 (Petrie-Norris) – increase penalties for fentanyl dealers who sell on social media, placed on interim study to kick the can even farther down the road.
The bills advancing out of the committee were:
- AB 33 (Bains) – to establish a Fentanyl Addiction and Overdose Prevention Task Force.
- AB 474 (Rodriguez) – prioritize cooperation between state and local law enforcement to disrupt fentanyl trafficking organizations.
- AB 701 (Villapudua) – enhance penalties for selling large quantities of specified controlled substances.