Press Release

Senate’s Safer California Plan: Legislators, Stakeholders Stand Firm on Strategic, Evidence-Based Approach

SACRAMENTO – Support for the Senate’s new Safer California Plan is growing, following Monday’s announcement of the bipartisan legislative package held by Senate President pro Tempore Mike McGuire (D-North Coast) and a coalition of Senators and stakeholders. 

The package – called ‘Working Together for a Safer California’ – includes 14 bills that are focused on addressing the fentanyl crisis through evidence-based prevention and treatment solutions, and combating retail theft and community-based crime through legislation to prevent, deter, and prosecute brazen criminal activity.

“This plan isn’t about catchy soundbites on fentanyl and crime – it’s about a sound approach to keeping our communities safe and improving the quality of life here in the Golden State,” said Pro Tem McGuire. “Unlike ever before, Democrats and Republicans are uniting to move the Senate’s bipartisan Safer California Plan forward, which will deploy desperately needed resources into communities to help combat the fentanyl epidemic and blunt the rising tide of theft and crime. We’re working overtime to get this done.”


Hear from the bill authors:


Senator Angelique Ashby (D-Sacramento), SB 1502:

“The fentanyl crisis is deadly and requires our urgent attention. I am honored to join the administration and my colleagues in the legislature with a bill to prevent illicit use and trafficking of Xylazine, also known as tranq, or the zombie drug. In other parts of the country Xylazine addiction has dwarfed fentanyl and destroyed entire communities. In California, we are proactively out front working to prevent this dangerous drug from becoming wide spread in the Golden State. Our efforts to address street drugs and retail theft are community based, data driven and intended to stop cycles of crime and addiction. Keeping Californians safe is our highest priority. I am proud to partner with Governor Newsom, Pro Tem McGuire, and my Senate colleagues on this package of bills to serve California.”


Senator Dave Min (D-Irvine), SB 1242:

“Retail theft has become increasingly sophisticated in recent years with scenarios where arson is being used as a tactic to hide and distract from criminal activity. Enough is enough. I’m proud to author SB 1242 as part of a comprehensive strategy to hold criminals accountable, while giving law enforcement the tools they need to successfully prosecute these heinous crimes that put both local communities and retailers at risk.”

Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), SB 1416:

“I’m proud to be among the members of the Senate Democratic Caucus carrying legislation as part of the Safer California Plan, which offers strategic and evidence-based approaches to address some of the most pressing challenges facing California. I look forward to working with leadership on all sides to make results-driven changes that positively impact the lives of the families and businesses we represent.”

Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa), SB 1442 and SB 1468:

“Fentanyl-related deaths have deeply affected my district and state in recent years. As a mother, it’s heartbreaking to listen to families describe the tragic deaths of their loved ones. I appreciate the efforts being made in the Senate to join together and fight against these senseless deaths. The opioid crisis doesn’t know political boundaries, and neither should the fight we lead against it as lawmakers. I want to thank Senate pro Tem McGuire for including me to join him on this effort.”

Senator Richard Roth (D-Riverside), SB 1385:

“Many of these policies are evidence-based, studies show that rehabilitation is more effective at ending cycles of crime and addiction than incarceration. This package of bills focuses on what has been proven to work and has been guided by research and recommendations from experts. What works is offering people resources, education, and getting people access to programs that will help them get better.”

Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), SB 950, SB 1144, and SB 1442:

“I’m honored to join with Senate pro Tempore McGuire and my Senate colleagues on ‘Working Together for a Safer California.’ Our Senate bills put proven solutions to work to combat the opioid crisis, and most significantly, to help prevent deaths from fentanyl overdoses, which have skyrocketed in recent years. Our bills also take on organized crime rings, the players responsible for the growth in retail theft, smash and grabs, and car burglaries, by putting new rules on online sellers and enhancing punishments for serial thieves.”

Senator Thomas Umberg (D-Orange County), SB 909 and SB 910:

“I am happy to have been a part of the senate’s working group on fentanyl for the past year. Senator McGuire’s ability to bring us all together and lead on these solutions is truly impressive. As someone who has been involved in drug policy at every level throughout my career, I can assert that we are making progress here in California in terms of opioid addiction and fentanyl.” 

Senator Aisha Wahab (D-Hayward), SB 982, SB 1319, SB 1320:

“The Safer California Plan is a strategic approach that will make our communities both healthier and safer – and it advances changes that are absolutely critical right now. We know that we must advance targeted consequences for brazen theft and community-based crime. This plan does that by tackling crime before it begins by disrupting the sale of stolen goods in online marketplaces, increasing penalties and thereby deterring crime, providing tools for law enforcement and prosecutors, and eliminating sunset dates for organized retail theft. This package is a powerful approach, and one our communities need.”

Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), SB 905:

“Auto break-ins and other forms of theft have become more organized in recent years, and the tools we use to hold people accountable must evolve as well. This bill package is highly targeted to hold the repeat offenders most responsible for property crime accountable, without undermining the significant criminal justice reforms we’ve enacted in recent years to move away from mass incarceration.”


What Others Are Saying:


Anne Irwin, Executive Director of Smart Justice California:

“We commend the Senate and Pro Tem McGuire for tackling California’s overdose crisis with effective approaches that will improve the health and safety of Californians. In the face of both a growing public health crisis and a historic budget deficit, the Senate is doing the smart thing by investing in proven strategies that mitigate fentanyl’s damage to California communities while avoiding the temptation to resurrect failed approaches of the past.”

Tinisch Hollins, Executive Director of Californians for Safety and Justice:

“This package represents a thoughtful approach to nuanced challenges. Our top priority is protecting hard won justice reforms that are currently working to keep Californians safe and prioritize taxpayer dollars for approaches that work.  However, in an environment where special interests are gas lighting Californians with destructive and ineffective rollbacks, we support Pro Tem McGuire’s smart on crime approach and will work with the Senate to make sure it is effective for everyday people.”

Chief Alex Gammelgard, President of the CA Police Chiefs Association:

“While police chiefs remain focused on the enforcement aspects needed to combat the fentanyl crisis, we understand how critical it is to approach the fentanyl epidemic through a holistic lens, which includes building a better healthcare response. The California Senate’s legislative package will improve access to substance abuse treatment and life-saving medicine, build better coordination between public safety and healthcare systems, and help educate the public about the dangers of these deadly substances. These are all critical issues that will have a positive impact and save lives, and we appreciate the Senate for leading this effort.”

Brian K. Rice, President, California Professional Firefighters:

 “I applaud the California State Senate for their focus on responding to the fentanyl crisis and retail crime challenges. Retail theft and the fentanyl crisis are impacting quality of life in California and need to be addressed. The California State Senate’s Working Together for A Safer California plan is directly focused on policies to reduce the prevalence of fentanyl in our communities and to stop retail theft. CPF members are in our community every day responding to patients with substance use challenges. While we have worked with the legislature to improve the continuum of care for individuals experiencing substance use challenges, we also need to work to limit access to this drug that has taken so many lives. We look forward to engaging with the Senate as they push forward on solutions that improve public safety and community health throughout California.”

Sheriff Robert G. Luna, Los Angeles County: 

“The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is proud to work with and support the California State Senate with efforts to address two very important issues affecting our communities. As the Sheriff of Los Angeles County, I support your efforts to protect our community members from the proliferation of fentanyl in our communities. Fentanyl related deaths in Los Angeles County are surging at an alarming rate and we need every tool available to help us combat those selling and trafficking this deadly poison. The Senate’s plan will also give law enforcement additional and precise tools to impact organized retail theft all along the criminal chain, without reversing the essential elements of criminal justice reform that was approved by the majority of Californians. I also encourage any efforts designed to hold repeat offenders accountable as we move forward. I am proud to support this effort that will protect economic opportunity for both large and small businesses.”

Diana Becton, Contra Costa County District Attorney:

“Californians want a justice system that works for everyone. We want solutions for both the fentanyl crisis and retail crime issue, both of which are taking a toll on our communities and families. And that’s what this legislative package intends to do – it is aimed at getting thoughtful, careful approaches to fentanyl in place, and also enacting measures that would help deter crime and strengthen our ability to prosecute brazen criminals who are harming businesses and eroding community safety.”


More Information on the Safer California Plan:

A recording of the press conference – which included remarks by Pro Tem McGuire, Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones, Senators Roth and Wahab, Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton, and Professor of Emergency Medicine Dr. Aimee Moulin – can be viewed here

A press release and list of bill descriptions is available 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: