Press Release

Safer California Plan Gaining Major Momentum Ahead of Special Senate Committee Hearings

SACRAMENTO – The 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, with hearings for the bills beginning tomorrow (Tuesday). 


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 will be heard at a special hearing in the Senate Public Safety Committee tomorrow, 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. Details on the bills and committee dates can be found below.


“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 on February 26, 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. 


Read the latest from supporters:


Darren Arakawa, President of the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs’ Association:

“The Los Angeles County Police Chiefs' Association supports (the Senate’s) efforts to introduce bipartisan legislation to mitigate the impacts of fentanyl, especially in light of the rising death rate at the hands of fentanyl poisoning. Furthermore, the Senate's plan to help provide law enforcement the tools necessary to properly address organized retail theft is imperative to maintain the health of communities and our retail business partners. We also would like to emphasize to the Senate that a multi-modal approach be taken which includes, but is not limited to: holding offenders accountable to the fullest extent of the law, addressing repeat offenders and providing resources to the business community who are victimized. The Los Angeles County Police Chiefs' Association would like nothing more than to be your partners in this effort.”


Chief Kelly M. Vernon, President of the Chief Probation Officers of California and Chief Probation Officer, Tulare County Probation:

“On behalf of the Chief Probation officers of California (CPOC), we write to offer our support of the concepts outlined in the bipartisan legislative package, Working Together for a Safer California, around key policy areas to address the crises around fentanyl and retail theft… We support the Senate’s efforts to protect our community members. As on-the-ground connectors and experts in community safety, we look forward to being a part of the continued discussions with the Senate, Assembly, and Administration to work towards meaningful and comprehensive solutions to the retail theft and fentanyl crises in a way that support successful and safe reentry.”


Matt Heady, Treasurer of the Long Beach Police Officers Association:

“The Long Beach Police Officers Association would like to announce our support for the Senate’s ‘Working Together for a Safer California’ plan. We are honored to partner with you to work towards keeping California and its communities safe.”


The package also has support from Smart Justice California, Californians for Safety and Justice, the California Police Chiefs Association, California Professional Firefighters, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna, and Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton. Click here to read more.


In the state’s ongoing efforts to crack down on illegal drug smuggling – including fentanyl – it was announced last week 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.


Bills included in the Safer California Plan will be heard in committees on the days noted below.


Retail Theft & Community-based Crimes

  • SB 1144 (Skinner): Disrupts the sale of stolen goods on online marketplaces by requiring that third-party sellers be certified, and bans sellers suspected of criminal activity from operating through online marketplace platforms. Committee: Senate Judiciary – April 2.
  • SB 1416 (Newman)Increases penalties on professional organized retail theft in particularly significant large-scale resale schemes. Committee: Senate Public Safety – April 9.
  • SB 905 (Wiener): Removes the locked door loophole for automotive property thefts.  Committee: Senate Public Safety – April 2.
  • SB 982 (Wahab): Cements the work California has done on organized crime by making the law on organized retail theft permanent. Committee: Passed Senate Public Safety 5-0 on March 12; Re-referred to Senate Appropriations.
  • SB 1242 (Min): Requires courts to impose higher penalties on criminals who create fires in order to engage in retail theft.  The higher penalties do not impact Proposition 47.  Committee: Senate Public Safety – April 2.


Fentanyl Bills

  • SB 1319 (Wahab): Expedites approval of projects that expand the continuum of substance use disorder rehab facilities. Committee: Senate Health – April 10.
  • SB 1320 (Wahab): Requires health plans to develop a mechanism to reimburse providers who provide primary care and behavioral health integrated services. Committee: Senate Health – April 10.
  • SB 1385 (Roth): Supports navigators in hospital emergency departments and in the criminal justice system to ensure patients and justice-involved individuals are connected to evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder and to ongoing treatment services. Committee: Senate Health – April 10.
  • SB 1442 (Ochoa Bogh & Skinner): Empowers CalRX to supply California with vital United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approved testing and health assessment equipment, which will help increase access to affordable fentanyl testing strips for diagnostics purposes. Committee: Senate Health – April 10.
  • SB 1468 (Ochoa Bogh & Roth): Educates and encourages providers to make use of the new federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) rule to allow practitioners to dispense a three-day supply of narcotic medication to start detoxification treatment or maintenance treatment for people who use opioids. Committee: Senate Business, Professions & Economic Development – April 8.
  • SB 909 (Umberg): Addresses physician shortages in underserved areas by eliminating the cap on the Steven M. Thompson loan repayment program for physicians who agree to provide direct patient care in an underserved area for 36 months. Committee: Senate Health – April 3.
  • SB 910 (Umberg): Establishes statewide standards used by collaborative courts to improve programming, drug testing, and medication-assisted treatment for individuals moving through the criminal justice system. Committee: Senate Health – April 10.
  • SB 950 (Skinner): Expands the number of re-entry hubs to provide more warm hand-offs and treatment options to individuals returning home from the criminal justice system. Committee: Senate Public Safety – April 9.
  • SB 1502 (Ashby): Prevents illicit use and trafficking of Xylazine (aka “tranq”), an animal tranquilizer with no approved human use that is increasingly being found in the illicit drug supply and has been linked to rising overdose deaths across the country. Committee: Senate Public Safety – April 9.


More information about the Safer California Plan – including statements from bill authors and supporters, news releases, bill info, and more – can be found here.




Mike McGuire is President pro Tempore of the California Senate. He represents the North Coast of California, which stretches from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border, including Del Norte, Trinity, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Sonoma, and Marin counties. Website of Senate Leader McGuire: