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Safer California plan gaining major momentum

The state Senate’s Safer California Plan – a bipartisan legislative effort to address the fentanyl crisis and combat retail theft and community-based crime – is gaining significant support as it continues to move forward. Hearings for the bills began on April 2.

The package includes 14 bills: nine focused on evidence-based prevention and treatment solutions to address the fentanyl crisis and five directed at preventing, deterring and prosecuting retail theft and community-based crimes. The vast majority of the bills focused on retail theft and community-based crimes were to be heard at a special hearing in the Senate Public Safety Committee on April 2. A special hearing also has been scheduled at the Senate’s Health Committee for the Senate’s package focused on the fentanyl crisis on April 10. The bills will be heard together.

“The Safer California plan is gaining major momentum across the Golden State – folks know it will help tackle the fentanyl crisis through prevention and treatment, and help curb retail crime in our communities,” said Senate President pro Tempore Mike McGuire (D-North Coast). “Californians want to feel safe in the communities they call home, and this commonsense series of bills will deploy desperately needed resources into all corners of California to help combat the fentanyl crisis and give law enforcement additional tools to crack down on community-based crime.”

The package, which was met with a raft of support from public safety and medical/addiction professionals following the package’s unveiling during a press conference earlier this year, is also continuing to garner support as it moves through the legislative process, most recently from the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs Association, Chief Probation Officers of California, and Long Beach Police Officers Association.

The package also has support from Smart Justice California, Californians for Safety and Justice, the California Police Chiefs Association, and California Professional Firefighters, among others.

In the state’s ongoing efforts to crack down on illegal drug smuggling – including fentanyl – it was announced in late March that California’s National Guard-supported operations seized over one million fentanyl pills in California, including 592,900 pills at the state’s ports of entry. And in February, law enforcement agencies reported that the $267 million investment the state made in 2023 to combat organized retail crime has resulted in more than 900 initial arrests statewide.