With pragmatic Chair at helm, two Patterson crime bills advance from Assembly’s Public Safety panel

Support from the Public Safety Committee signals a shift to Patterson, who has previously found himself at odds with it.

Two bills authored by Asm. Jim Patterson (R–Fresno) focused on fentanyl and human trafficking have passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee. 

Both bills will advance to a vote on the Assembly floor since they do not need to be referred to the Appropriations Committee. 


The big picture: Assembly Bill 1803 imposes restitution for victims of criminals convicted of human trafficking. 

  • Current California law only requires restitution for noneconomic losses for felony violations of crimes related to child sexual abuse. 
  • Assembly Bill 1804 lowers the threshold needed for law enforcement to be able to wiretap suspected fentanyl cases. 
  • AB 1804 would lower the threshold from 10 gallons of liquid volume or three pounds of solid substance to 1.67 gallons of liquid volume and eight ounces of solid substance containing fentanyl. 
  • The approvals come after a massive shake-up of Democratic leadership ranks, with new Speaker Robert Rivas ousting former chair and avowed criminal justice reform advocate Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D–Los Angeles) for the more moderated Kevin McCarty (D–Sacramento).

What they’re saying: Speaking about restitution for human trafficking victims, Patterson called Tuesday’s approval by the committee a win for those who have suffered. 

  • “This is the first time in all my years in Sacramento where I have seen change like this embraced,” Patterson said. “I hope this sends a powerful message to all trafficking victims that we hear you, we see you, and we’re working to help you.” 
  • Regarding AB 1804, Patterson said, “Fentanyl continues to claim lives across California. Thankfully, the Public Safety Committee recognized this and saw the need to give law enforcement another tool to target large drug operations and to help take more of this poison off our streets.” 
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