It was a busy week at the state Capitol where Republican and Democratic lawmakers agreed to a behind-the-scenes deal to schedule a special hearing in the coming week to take up delayed fentanyl bills.
Democrats and Republicans say they’re pleased these bills will get a hearing, but some say the process it took to get to this point is unacceptable.
“We have good ideas, but you won’t even vet them,” California Assembly Minority Leader James Gallagher said. “You won’t even hold a hearing on them. That’s the problem.”
Authors of these bills say the legislation seeks to target fentanyl dealers and increase penalties for them.
However, Assembly Public Safety Committee Chair Reggie Jones-Sawyer argued some of the proposals, “were duplicative or provided no rational solutions at all.”
“The fentanyl epidemic is impacting every city and every community in our state…And so our response has to be about coming together with real solutions,” San Francisco Assemblymember Matt Haney said.
A behind-the-scenes deal between Democrats and Republicans has led to a special hearing that is now scheduled to take place this coming week.
The special hearing will take up six bills, including one that calls for the creation of a fentanyl task force.
Another will look at increasing sentences for fentanyl dealers found to have caused great bodily injury or death. A separate bill will also target fentanyl dealers caught selling fentanyl on social media.
“This is not a drug, this is a poison.,” Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris said. “The way we are approaching this needs to be different, and needs to recognize just how dangerous and deadly this substance is.”
The hearing is scheduled for Thursday.