Time and time again the California State Legislature has shot down policies to address the ever-present fentanyl crisis plaguing our state. The supermajority, which has the power to assign chairmanships to powerful committees, like Public Safety, has rejected four bills in three years. Rejecting these bills shows that some in legislative leadership are not interested in pursuing real consequences that would have prevented the nearly 6,000 California deaths caused by fentanyl. That is why we are taking it to the voters.
Assemblymembers Alanis and Patterson joined me in introducing Assembly Constitutional Amendment (ACA) 12, better known as Alexandra’s Law, to address the unprecedented fentanyl crisis California is facing. Alexandra’s Law is a bipartisan attempt to hold fentanyl dealers accountable by informing convicted fentanyl dealers that subsequent offenses could result in a charge of voluntary manslaughter or murder.
The measure was crafted based on the “Watson Admonition” which was implemented by Democrat Assemblymember Nicole Para with the passage of Assembly Bill 808 in 2007. It provided the foundational element that if you drink and drive under the influence, and you kill someone because of that action, you can be charged with murder. ACA 12 provides that after being convicted of illicitly selling controlled substances, drug dealers would be read an advisement that says illegal substances could be fatal and if you continue to administer illegal drugs and counterfeit pills, and someone dies as a result, you could be charged with murder. Common sense dictates that fentanyl dealers should be held to the same law.
State Senate Bill (SB) 44, ACA 12’s predecessor bill this year, was a bipartisan bill I proudly co-authored with Senator Tom Umberg, my Democratic colleague in the State Senate. It failed twice in the Senate Public Safety Committee earlier this year.
Despite bipartisan efforts, SB 44 and the other half a dozen bills seeking to crack down on this epidemic, all failed to advance past the public safety committee. Our state’s leadership continues to turn a blind eye to this crisis while drug cartels profit billions off the deaths of our youth. The voters of California tend to have common sense when ballot measures are presented to them. That is why we are confident that they will back Alexandra’s Law and its goal to place harsh penalties on fentanyl dealers that profit off the deaths of California teens.
The namesake for Alexandra’s Law, Alexandra Capelouto, died one day before Christmas in 2019 after taking one counterfeit pill that contained a deadly dose of fentanyl. Alexandra’s father, Matt Capelouto, a resident of south Orange County, and many other parents and advocates, have been vocal advocates on this crisis as they fight for justice to be served, but their cries have fallen upon deaf ears.
ACA 12 will now move through the legislature and then finally to the people of California, who are facing this issue personally and tragically in their communities and need to have a voice on this tragic issue. Law enforcement groups, district attorneys, county sheriffs, concerned parent groups, and many others who are committed to safer communities, all back this measure to stop the sale of illegal fentanyl in our state.
It’s time to stop pretending fentanyl is not a serious crisis and take action now.
When all else fails, let the voters decide.
Diane B. Dixon is an Assembly Member for California’s 72nd Assembly District. She is also a former Newport Beach City Council Member. Follow her on Twitter: @DianeDixonAD72
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.