- Adam Capper
- (916) 319-2035
(Sacramento) – Dr. Jasmeet Bains (D-Delano) wrapped up her first legislative session in Sacramento today while passing a slate of bills focused on improving the quality of life for all Californians.
Dr. Bains’ top priority was AB 33 which creates the Fentanyl Misuse and Overdose Prevention Task Force. As the first bill she introduced when she arrived in Sacramento, Dr. Bains spent the year educating her colleagues on the dangers of fentanyl and her experiences as a physician fighting the crisis on the ground in Kern County. With the emergence of xylazine or “tranq” earlier this year, Dr. Bains expanded the responsibilities of the task force to get ahead of the new emerging threat.
Addressing her colleagues as AB 33 faced the final vote it needed to pass, Dr. Bains said, “Mark my words, if you have not heard of xylazine or tranq yet, you will by the time we return to this floor in January. Xylazine is only authorized for use in veterinary medicine, but it is increasingly being found as an adulterant in illicit drug cocktails including being mixed with fentanyl, cocaine, and heroin. If you thought we were not prepared for the rise of fentanyl, you have not seen anything yet. Most jurisdictions do not even test for xylazine in overdose cases. It is already being circulated in most of our districts and we do not even know it is there. Xylazine has the potential to be the next fentanyl, so getting ahead of this dangerous drug is critical to prevent yet another crisis. AB 33 gives us the opportunity to be proactive instead of reactive. If we do this right, we will save thousands of lives.”
In a show of bipartisan and bicameral strength, AB 33 not only passed with bipartisan support but was also coauthored by Senate Republican Caucus Chair Kelly Seyarto (R-Murrieta).
Dr. Bains also passed AB 1166 to ensure anyone who administers naloxone to a person experiencing a fentanyl or opioid overdose would not be subject to legal liability. Nonprofit groups fighting fentanyl expressed concern that California’s expansive liability laws could inadvertently prevent lives from being saved because of concerns over lawsuits. AB 1166 fixed the problem by creating immunity for Good Samaritans.
Earlier this year, Dr. Bains announced she had secured $11 million in the State Budget dedicated to fighting fentanyl in Kern County through enhanced public education, enforcement, and health care services. Dr. Bains also threw her support behind AB 701, which increases prison sentences for fentanyl dealers by up to 25 years. She was also an early coauthor of SB 14 by Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) which makes sex trafficking of a minor a strike under California’s Three Strikes law.
“After overcoming some early obstacles, we turned this year into one of the most productive fentanyl fights ever,” said Dr. Bains. “California is still playing catch-up to this crisis, but we are going to catch-up a lot faster because of the new laws and investments passed this year.”
Dr. Bains also passed AB 1519 to crack down on catalytic converter thefts, which have skyrocketed in recent years. Current law is so cumbersome that law enforcement officials struggle to prosecute thieves even when they are caught red-handed with dozens of catalytic converters in their trunks. AB 1519 solves this problem by making possession itself a crime in appropriate circumstances.
“Our laws should not protect criminals from being convicted of their crimes,” said Dr. Bains. “We are making the law work better for victims and law enforcement by holding thieves accountable for their actions.”
In a reminder of her work as a family doctor, Dr. Bains also passed a $100 million tax cut for new mothers. AB 1203 would exempt breast pumps and related supplies from the state’s sales tax. Unlike baby formula, which is fully tax-exempt, breast pumps are subject to the state’s 7.25% sales tax adding a significant cost burden for working-class mothers who most need the pumps to continue working.
“Breast pumps are an absolute necessity for families that want to breastfeed,” said Dr. Bains. “They provide one of the only realistic options for mothers to continue to breastfeed their children once they go back to work. Taxing breast pumps imposes a financial burden on working mothers and puts formula feeding and breastfeeding on unequal footing. We should be making it cheaper to feed our children, not more expensive.”
State Legislators now return to their districts during the Interim Recess before returning to Sacramento in January.
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Dr. Jasmeet Bains represents the 35th Assembly District in Kern County which includes the cities of Bakersfield, Delano, Wasco, Arvin, Shafter, and McFarland.