Margaret Dooley at (858) 336-3685
SACRAMENTO – A popular and successful citizen initiative, Proposition 36, could be rewritten tonight when the California Assembly votes on a budget trailer bill, SB 1137. Supporters of the drug-treatment law say the trailer bill violates the intent of the program voters approved, and they will fight to prevent the bill from getting the 54 votes it needs to pass.
Dave Fratello, a co-author of Prop. 36, said, “SB 1137 makes dozens of changes to Prop. 36. It adds hundreds of words to the law and alters the spirit of this program completely. This is a sneaky, underhanded effort to undermine a voter mandate in a budget trailer bill.”
SB 1137 contains the substance of a bill, SB 803, that was introduced last year by Sen. Denise Ducheny (D – Imperial), and which the Drug Policy Alliance and other Prop. 36 supporters have consistently opposed. It was converted to a budget trailer last week after Sen. Ducheny was unable to generate support for the bill in the Assembly Public Safety Committee.
The anti-Prop. 36 trailer bill would, among other things, allow people who are actively engaged in Prop. 36 treatment to be incarcerated for suffering a relapse, even though relapse is a common and survivable part of the recovery process. Under Prop. 36, the appropriate response to relapse is escalation and intensification of treatment–not withdrawal from treatment.
Assembly Speaker Fabian Nu