Senate Democrats refuse to acknowledge the pink elephant in the room: California has a fentanyl crisis. Over the past several months, multiple fentanyl-related measures never made it out of the Senate Public Safety Committee. Even Governor Newsom understood the severity of the crisis and recently announced a public safety partnership to tackle fentanyl trafficking in San Francisco after pressure from California Legislative Republicans.
So why won’t Senate Democrats do the same as surely they must be aware that fentanyl poisoning is now the leading cause of death for young adults in the United States? Instead, they defend deadly drug dealers rather than protecting the victims of fentanyl poisoning and their grieving families.
Here’s a recap of several fentanyl bills that did not pass out of the Senate Public Safety Committee:
- Senate Bill 44, a bipartisan measure introduced by Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa) and Senator Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) with more than 20 Senate co-authors, was struck down twice by four Democrats on the Senate Public Safety Committee - once on March 28 and again when an amended version of the bill was killed on April 25. SB 44 simply would ensure fentanyl dealers are fully aware they will be held accountable for selling the lethal drug by requiring the courts to advise individuals convicted of fentanyl sales and manufacturing-related offenses that subsequent offenses could result in a charge of voluntary manslaughter or murder.
- Senate Bill 237 (Grove) would increase penalties for any person who possesses fentanyl for sale or purchase for sale by two years (to 4, 5, or 6 years), transport, sale, and distribution by four years (to 7, 8, or 9 years), and trafficking by four years (to 7, 10, or 13 years).
- Senate Bill 325 (Grove) would add penalties of 3, 4, or 5 years of additional punishment for the buying, selling, and transporting of “rainbow” fentanyl.
- Senate Bill 62 (Nguyen) would add fentanyl to the list of controlled substances (currently heroin, cocaine base, and cocaine) which are eligible for an additional prison term (i.e. a sentence enhancement) ranging from three to twenty-five years based on the volume of the controlled substance.
“The Majority Party is failing to take the immediate action that the fentanyl crisis warrants,” said Senate Minority Caucus Chair Janet Nguyen (R-Huntington Beach). “While there are some Democrat legislators who are joining Republicans in this fight against fentanyl, it is appalling that other elected officials are using an argument to protect drug dealers who sell deadly fentanyl pills over reforms that will prevent any more life from being lost.”
“The fight is just beginning,” Senator Nguyen continued. “Legislative Republicans are committed to ensuring this state tackles this crisis in a serious manner.”
One Democrat elected official in committee went so far as to suggest that the “unintended consequences” of SB 44 was too broad and could include people selling methamphetamines or cocaine who might not know it contains fentanyl or college kids selling illegal drugs or other drug lords transporting/importing illegal drugs who may not know that the illegal drugs they are peddling might include fentanyl. Here’s is the clip and you decide for yourself if it's a justifiable reason to do nothing?
Senate Democrat legislator defends drugs dealers and discusses "unintended consequences" of SB 44, a bipartisan bill to hold deadly drug dealers accountable. Click here to watch and listen to his remarks.