State senators respond to fentanyl and shoplifting crises with new legislation

(Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)

State senators respond to fentanyl and shoplifting crises with new legislation

California Politics, Homepage News, Elections 2024

Anabel Sosa

February 26, 2024

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the California Senate on Monday adopted a


legislative package to address the growing fentanyl crisis and


untamed outbreak of organized shoplifting.

Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), who was sworn in

to his new role



President pro tempore recited sobering statistics to reporters last month as he presented proposals

he said he promised

will solve the problems through a more rehabilitative approach.

“There are more than 12,000 drug overdose deaths in California each year. More than half of these deaths are related to fentanyl,” McGuire said.

told reporters

. “Black and Latino communities have a 200%

per cent

increase in overdose deaths since 2017. Native Americans had a rate of 150%

per cent

increase in overdose deaths during the same period. The Hoopa Valley Tribe faces a fentanyl mortality rate eight times higher than the state average.”

The Senate’s action comes after Assembly leaders

this month

presented their plans to solve the problems



this month

an indication that the drugs and theft

crisis will be a major priority. crises will be priorities

during this legislative session and in California’s 2024 elections.

The series of fourteen bills announced by McGuire and other Democratic and Republican Senate leaders take a sweeping approach. If passed and signed by the governor, the legislation would expand access to treatment, improve addiction treatment for people in the criminal justice system and punish the criminal trafficking of xylazine, or “tranq.”

that is

a horse tranquilizer laced with fentanyl.

One of those bills is SB 1144, authored by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), which will tighten regulations to prevent stolen goods from being sold online.

Tinisch Hollins, executive director of

the non-profit organization

Californians for Safety and Justice,

a non-profit organization,

called the package a “thoughtful approach to nuanced challenges.”

Hollins said the package is needed


“in an environment where special interests are targeting Californians with destructive and ineffective rollbacks.”

Those interests are: she was

referring to law enforcement agencies

who that

have lobbied for changes to Proposition 47, a


controversial ballot measure that reduced certain shoplifting and drug offense charges to felonies.

Against Costa


Dist. Atty. Diana Becton called for a strategic approach that moves away from a one-size-fits-all approach to public safety.

“I have seen firsthand the need to reimagine our approach to criminal justice,” she said. “To reexamine and reprimand it through a lens of racial and socioeconomic inequality, with an eye toward restorative justice and rehabilitation programs for nonviolent crimes.”


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