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Prioritize Saving Lives Over Raising Taxes—Californians Deserve Better

Prioritize Saving Lives Over Raising Taxes—Californians Deserve Better

Matt Capelouto, the father of fentanyl poisoning victim Alexandra—the namesake of California's Senate Bill 44—speaks at a press conference where California Assemblymembers, law enforcement officials, and local representatives propose to put stricter fentanyl enforcement on the upcoming 2024 ballot, in front of the Capitol in Sacramento on June 6, 2023. (Courtesy of Assembly Republican Caucus)

Diane DixonJuan Alanis

Diane Dixon & Juan Alanis

9/27/2023

Updated: 10/1/2023

Commentary
If we were to take to the streets of our districts and ask constituents what is more important for the State Legislature to pass—a bill that would make it easier to raise people’s taxes or a bill that would help end the fentanyl crisis—the answer would be obvious to most.
However, those in charge in Sacramento are prioritizing raising taxes over saving lives, and we have the receipts.
Fentanyl is a poison. The phrase, “One Pill Can Kill” is not just a catchy slogan—it’s a stark truth. California’s fentanyl crisis kills 110 Californians each week. Our families continue to be torn apart and our communities devastated. Yet, politics continue to stand in the way of delivering for the people of California to end this nightmare. It is unfortunate that bipartisan solutions can so easily be thrown into a dark room to never again see the light of day.
On June 5th, we introduced a bipartisan constitutional amendment, ACA 12, also known as Alexandra’s Law. It has been waiting to be set for a policy committee hearing ever since. Meanwhile, another constitutional amendment, ACA 13, introduced more than a month later, was pushed through the legislative process and headed to voters.
The impact these measures would have on Californians could not be more different.
Alexandra’s Law would amend the California constitution to require courts to warn convicted fentanyl dealers that selling this drug can kill someone. If the dealers continue selling and it results in a death, this first warning would allow prosecutors to pursue murder charges. This is a bipartisan, common-sense approach that has additionally been introduced by one of our Democrat colleagues in the Senate. It has earned the support of a majority of State Senators.
California Assemblywoman Diane Dixon, R-Newport Beach, speaks at a press conference where California Assemblymembers, law enforcement officials, and local representatives propose to put stricter fentanyl enforcement on the upcoming 2024 ballot, in front of the Capitol in Sacramento on June 6, 2023. (Courtesy of Assembly Republican Caucus)

California Assemblywoman Diane Dixon, R-Newport Beach, speaks at a press conference where California Assemblymembers, law enforcement officials, and local representatives propose to put stricter fentanyl enforcement on the upcoming 2024 ballot, in front of the Capitol in Sacramento on June 6, 2023. (Courtesy of Assembly Republican Caucus)

Alexandra’s Law was named after 20-year-old Alexandra Capelouto. She lost her life after ingesting what she believed to be oxycodone, purchasing it from a dealer on social media. Unfortunately, it was not oxycodone. It was five times the amount of fentanyl needed to take someone’s life. Alexandra lost her life alone in bed, just two days before Christmas in 2019—her family was robbed of her by the evil of fentanyl.
Still, even with bipartisan backing, our colleagues across the aisle refuse to allow ACA 12 to have a committee hearing, let alone take this amendment to the voters and let them decide.
Then there’s the story of ACA 13. This hyper-partisan bill limits the power of the people to pass taxpayer protection measures and makes California’s affordability crisis even worse. It is a blatant attempt by Sacramento to make it easier for them to squeeze more money out of California taxpayers’ pockets.
ACA 13, even though it was introduced much later than Alexandra’s law and did not have bipartisan support, soared through the Assembly without delay, proving that priorities in the Capitol could not be any further from what Californians not only want, but need, from their representatives.
The fentanyl crisis has been met with empty promises, unsuccessful hearings, and other delay tactics from those in power.
Assembly Republicans have proposed the California Promise, real solutions to address the needs of regular Californians.
California Assemblyman Juan Alanis (R-Modesto) speaks at a press conference where California Assemblymembers, law enforcement officials, and local representatives propose to put stricter fentanyl enforcement on the upcoming 2024 ballot, in front of the Capitol in Sacramento on June 6, 2023. (Courtesy of Assembly Republican Caucus)

California Assemblyman Juan Alanis (R-Modesto) speaks at a press conference where California Assemblymembers, law enforcement officials, and local representatives propose to put stricter fentanyl enforcement on the upcoming 2024 ballot, in front of the Capitol in Sacramento on June 6, 2023. (Courtesy of Assembly Republican Caucus)

Part of this promise to Californians includes tackling the fentanyl crisis and spreading awareness on the dangers of its poison. We are committed to working with our colleagues regardless of the letter next to their name.
We are committed to the importance of rehabilitation and supporting individuals to overcome the battle of addiction.
We are committed to preventing more deaths and getting fentanyl off of our streets.
Alexandra’s Law (ACA 12) is part of our promise. Alexandra’s Law stands with families and victims, and against those selling this poison.
It’s not the entire solution, but it’s a critical part of it.
We don’t care who gets the credit for solving the crisis, we just want to save lives and stop fentanyl from continuing to wreak havoc on our state. The people of our state deserve to have their voices heard, and Alexandra’s Law deserves to be treated with the same urgency as the Democrats’ effort to find more ways to increase our taxes.
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Diane Dixon

Diane Dixon

Author

Diane Dixon has served as California Assemblywoman for District 72 since 2022. She was previously elected to the Newport Beach City Council in 2014, where she served two terms as Mayor.

Juan Alanis

Juan Alanis

Author

California Assemblymember Juan Alanis (R-Modesto) is an experienced law enforcement officer with a career spanning almost three decades, during which he has received awards for his bravery in saving lives. He was elected in the 22nd Assembly District, which covers portions of the Central Valley.

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