BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                    SB 1323  

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          Date of Hearing:  August 3, 2016


                               Lorena Gonzalez, Chair

          SB 1323  
          (Bates) - As Introduced February 19, 2016

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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  YesReimbursable:   


          This bill includes the synthetic opioid fentanyl in an  
          enhancement statute under which a defendant convicted of any of  
          a list of specified drug commerce crimes involving heroin,  


                                                                    SB 1323  

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          cocaine or cocaine base receives an additional prison term of  
          three to 25 years based on the weight of the substance  
          containing the drug involved in the case.

          FISCAL EFFECT:

          Potentially significant costs (GF) for increased state prison  
          commitments for longer terms in state prison than otherwise  
          would have been imposed in the absence of the proposed sentence  
          enhancement.  According to the California Department of  
          Corrections (CDCR), the contracted out-of-state annual bed rate  
          is $29,000. However, given the range of sentence enhancements  
          from three to 25 years, the cumulative impact would be difficult  
          to estimate.


          1)Background.  Under current law, the sale of fentanyl (a  
            synthetic and short-acting opioid analgesic that is 50-100  
            times more potent than morphine and approved for managing  
            acute or chronic pain associated with advanced cancer) is  
            punishable by three, four, or five years.  If transportation  
            over county lines is involved, the offense is punishable by 3,  
            6, or 9 years.  Also, current law provides penalties for  
            commerce in cocaine, cocaine base, heroin and specified  
            opiates, including fentanyl, and provides the following  
            additional sentence weight-based enhancements of the illegal  

             a)   1 kilogram = 3 years
             b)   4 kilograms = 5 years
             c)   10 kilograms = 10 years
             d)   20 kilograms = 15 years 
             e)   40 kilograms = 20 years
             f)   80 kilograms = 25 years 


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          1)Purpose.  According to the author, "SB 1323 includes fentanyl  
            with heroin and cocaine in the category of drugs that are  
            subject to enhancements by weight. By doing so, this bill  
            targets those distributing, trafficking, and selling mass  
            quantities of fentanyl. The bill does not affect those who use  
            fentanyl - whether legally or illegally. It only targets the  
            high-level, illegal traffickers who are causing the  
            proliferation of fentanyl, leading to hundreds of deaths  
            throughout the state."

            It should be noted that the existing enhancement based on the  
            weight of the drug involved in specified drug commerce crimes  
            includes any substance containing cocaine, cocaine base or  
            heroin.  Illicit drug manufacturers, distributors and sellers  
            often mix fentanyl or an analog with heroin, because it is  
            much more potent than heroin and relatively easy and cheap to  
            manufacture.  A defendant convicted of commerce involving a  
            mixture of heroin and fentanyl would be subject to the weight  
            enhancement under current law.  This bill would only be  
            necessary where the sole drug manufactured, distributed or  
            sold in the underlying crime was fentanyl.

          2)Support:  According to the California Police Chiefs  
            Association, "SB 1323 provides an appropriate public policy  
            solution to addressing the danger posed by this illicit drug  
            [(fentanyl0].  By focusing on those who seek to illegally sell  
            the substance, law enforcement can reduce the drug's  
            prevalence in our communities...  this bill targets those  
            distributing and selling mass quantities of fentanyl."  

          3)Opposition:  The American Civil Liberties Union, states that,  
            "a bill that would create sentence enhancements ranging from 3  
            to 25 years for, among other things, possessing for sale a  


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            substance containing fentanyl is not necessary and may be  
            counterproductive.  Under current law, a person who possesses  
            fentanyl for sale or purchases it for sale can be punished by  
            up to four years in jail and a person can be punished by up to  
            five years in jail for transporting, selling, or giving away  

          Analysis Prepared by:Pedro Reyes / APPR. / (916)