On Tuesday, there were two major efforts in Sacramento to fight for more criminal punishments for fentanyl dealers. One was led by parents, the other by Republican lawmakers in the State Assembly.
Parents and those who lost loved ones to fentanyl held a press conference to announce a new statewide initiative specifically targeting dealers. The event featured families of those who have lost loved ones to fentanyl poisoning. Among those in attendance included Matt Capelouto, whom we have spoken to about his legislative efforts following the death of his 20-year-old daughter, and 11-year-old Sonovah Hillman, Jr., daughter of rapper DMX, who died of a drug-overdose induced heart attack.
“My daughter Alex was killed by a pill containing a lethal dose of fentanyl," said Matt Capelouto, who helps lead the Stop Fentanyl Dealers committee and whose daughter is the namesake of the initiative's "Alexandra's Law" warning. "Yet there are currently NO LAWS in California to hold a drug dealer accountable for these kinds of deaths. This initiative will change that."
The group was also joined by Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire — who led the drafting of the initiative — and others who support tackling the fentanyl crisis head on.
"This measure provides a critical tool for prosecutors in the fentanyl crisis,” said Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire, who drafted the initiative and whose office was the first in the state to secure a murder conviction for a fentanyl-related death. "It helps us reduce fentanyl deaths by cracking down on dealers and sending the clear message to those convicted of hard drug crimes, 'If you choose to continue your behavior and sell and kill, the consequence will be severe.'"
Alongside this parent-led effort, there was also a push by some Republican lawmakers in the State Assembly on Tuesday. In an 18-to-39 vote, lawmakers voted down a motion that would have suspended the rules and let lawmakers vote on what's called ACA 12.
Local Assembly Member Republican Greg Wallis voted in favor of suspending the rules for the vote, while Democrat Eduardo Garcia voted no.
ACA 12 is a proposed ballot initiative to allow voters to ultimately decide whether Alexandra's Law should go into effect.
Alexandra's Law was initially filed by a Republican in the State Assembly and a Democrat in the State Senate and both have been blocked so far.
Assemblymember Greg Wallis issued a statement following the vote saying, "This issue shouldn't be partisan; we must set politics aside and work together in our fight against fentanyl to save lives."
You can find all of our coverage on the local fentanyl crisis at kesq.com/fentanyl-crisis/.
Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing coverage.