Since the start of the year, Senate Democrats have “talked” a lot about the fentanyl crisis that is gripping this state and nation, yet failed to hold deadly dealers accountable. They did it again earlier today when Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) attempted to introduce Alexandra's Law in amendments that would have ensured fentanyl dealers are fully aware they will be held accountable for selling this lethal drug. Senator Dahle’s effort comes just one day after Senate Democrats committed to addressing this crisis during a debate on fentanyl on the Senate Floor.
“Democrats like to say they meet the moment, but here’s a clear example when they failed to do so,” said Sen. Dahle as he condemned the Democrats’ decision to not even debate the proposed amendments. “Since more than half of the Senate already signed on, there should be no reason that it did not pass. However, Senate Democrats failed to act. Families and victims across this state deserve better.”
Today’s amendments mirrored bipartisan language of Senate Bill 44, also known as “Alexandra’s Law,” which was introduced by Senators Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa) and Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana). The measure was killed by just four Democrat members of the Senate Public Safety Committee in April. SB 44 had 22 Senate authors and co-authors. A bill only needs 21 votes to pass the entire Senate.
Several times this year, Democrats on the Senate Public Safety Committee killed legislation that would increase penalties for those selling fentanyl. Some of the others included:
- Senate Bills 237 (Grove) would have increased penalties for possession and/or purchase of fentanyl 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 Bills 325 (Grove) would have added penalties of 3, 4, or 5 years of additional punishment for the buying, selling, and transporting of “rainbow” fentanyl.
“In the face of the devastating losses caused by fentanyl poisoning, I stand unyieldingly with the families deeply affected by this crisis. This legislature must act to protect our communities and prevent further tragedies,” said Senator Ochoa Bogh.
Last month, Senate Minority Leader Brian W. Jones (R-San Diego) followed up with the Senate Pro Tem in an attempt to bring accountability to a so-called “fentanyl working group” formed in the Senate earlier in the year that had committed to pass SB 44. The letter went unanswered.