A measure by Senator Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) and Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) that would have held drug dealers accountable for a fatality from poisoning people with fentanyl-laced drugs was sidelined today by Senate Democrats. Senate Bill 350 (SB 350) would have treated drug fatalities the same way drunk driving deaths are treated in California.
Despite emotional testimonies from parents who endured pain and grief after losing a child to fentanyl poisoning, Senate Democrats rejected the measure.
“Far too many families can speak to the tragedy caused by the sale of poisonous fentanyl-laced drugs by drug dealers. Today, Senate Democrats looked these heartbroken parents in the eye and said drug dealers in California have more rights than their loved ones who died from fentanyl poisoning,” said Wilk. “Why the drug dealer who willfully sells poison-laced drugs should be treated any differently than a drunk driver who gets behind the wheel of a car makes no sense. In this instance, the majority party chose to protect criminals over the rights of the victims or their families.”
Senate Bill 350 would have required a court to issue an advisory to convicted drug dealers who sell or distribute controlled substances that they could be charged with murder if their actions resulted in another person’s death. This advisory could then be used as proof of implied malice by prosecutors to charge these drug dealers should their actions lead to a person’s death in a following conviction. It was defeated with no Democrats joining Republican Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa) in supporting the measure in the Senate Public Safety Committee.