Calif. Dems M.I.A. amid vote to fast-track anti-fentanyl bills

Democratic lawmakers roundly shut down expedited consideration on bills that would stiffen penalties for dealing deadly fentanyl.

Democrats in the California State Assembly continued to block consideration on tough-on-crime measures targeting fentanyl dealers.

Monday, Republican lawmakers sought to force floor consideration on three bills that were defeated in a committee last week.


Driving the news: It’s the second time in as many weeks GOP lawmakers have sought to use leverage a floor fight in pursuit of anti-fentanyl measures.

  • GOP lawmakers managed to force a committee hearing before the Assembly Public Safety Committee amid defection from moderate Democrats over concerns of continued fentanyl sales killing Californians.

The Assembly committee rejected three measures drafted by Republicans and Democrats.

Assembly GOP members on Monday sought reconsideration on the three rejected measures.

Bills due: The three rejected measures included –

  • AB 367, which would have added a sentencing enhancement for fentanyl dealers who kill or seriously injure someone with the drugs they sell.
  • AB 955, which would have increased penalties for selling fentanyl via social media
  • AB 1058, which would have increased penalties for possessing more than an ounce of fentanyl, enough to kill 14,000 people.

Missing lawmakers: A motion to suspend the rules and reconsider the three bills was rejected on a 18-45 vote. A large share of Democratic lawmakers eschewed voting on the motion to suspend the rules and allow for reconsideration. Others voted it down, following the party line. Here’s how Valley lawmakers voted:

  • Juan Alanis (R–Modesto): Yes
  • Joaquin Arambula (D–Fresno): No Vote Recorded
  • Jasmeet Bains (D–Bakersfield): No
  • Heath Flora (R–Ripon): Yes
  • Vince Fong (R–Bakersfield): Yes
  • Devon Mathis (R–Porterville): Yes
  • Jim Patterson (R–Fresno): Yes
  • Esmeralda Soria (D–Fresno): No Vote Recorded
  • Carlos Villapudua (D–Stockton): No

What they’re saying: Assembly GOP Leader James Gallagher (R–Yuba City) excoriated the Democratic supermajority for its deliberate indifference to an on-going drug crisis.

  • “Fentanyl is not a drug — it’s a weapon of mass destruction. Democrats’ continued refusal to crack down on the traffickers is further confirmation they are only looking out for criminals, not public safety,” Gallagher said.
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