#SmartSolutions is a new, intersectional campaign to counter efforts to double down on criminalization and mass incarceration – which inevitably means wasting precious state resources that could be better spent on housing, health care, schools, services for victims, and programs that reduce recidivism and promote accountability beyond incarceration. Californians won’t go back. Californians want smart solutions for public safety. 

2024 Policy Platform

Under the banner of #SmartSolutions, a broad coalition of organizations, is highlighting and advocating for concrete legislative solutions to some of California’s most pressing public safety issues, including: issues facing retailers and retail workers, the fentanyl crisis, and support for survivors of crime.

The #SmartSolutions Policy Platform is supported* by:

  • Anti-Recidivism Coalition
  • California Alliance for Youth and Community Justice (CAYCJ)
  • Californians for Safety and Justice
  • Chispa OC
  • Courage California
  • Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
  • GRACE/End Child Poverty California
  • Indivisible California
  • Initiate Justice
  • San Francisco Public Defender’s Office
  • Smart Justice California
  • Steinberg Institute
  • UnCommon Law
  • University of San Francisco School of Law, Racial Justice Clinic
  • ValorUS
  • Vera Institute of Justice – California
  • Voices for Progress
Retail Theft
  • SB 1144 (Skinner): Disrupts the sale of stolen goods on online marketplaces by requiring that third-party sellers be certified, and bans sellers suspected of criminal activity from operating through online marketplace platforms. 
  • SB 1282 (Smallwood-Cuevas):  This bill will expand the use of diversion by requiring every county to have a diversion program for theft cases and allowing judges to grant diversion in any case they think appropriate. 
  • SB 1446 (Smallwood-Cuevas):  This bill will address retail theft and minimize workplace violence experienced by workers by ensuring there is a safe level of staffing in the retail store, limit the number of items that can be taken through self checkout and the types of items, and require employers to provide worker and consumer impact assessment when automation is expanded and introduced in the workplace.
  • AB 2215 (Bryan):  AB 2215 will add clear language to the penal code empowering law enforcement with additional pre-booking diversion tools that codify their discretionary authority to connect people to supportive services in the interest of community safety. 
Fentanyl (Click to expand)

Expanding Access to Treatment for Substance Use Disorders

  • SB 909 (Umberg): Address physician shortages in underserved areas by eliminating the cap on the Steven M. Thompson loan repayment program for physicians who agree to provide direct patient care in an underserved area for 36 months.
  • SB 999 (Cortese):  This bill would expedite authorization for substance use disorder treatment by requiring that a health care service plan and a disability insurer – and an entity acting on a plan’s or insurer’s behalf – ensure compliance with specific requirements for utilization review, including maintaining telephone access during California business hours for a health care provider to request authorization for mental health and substance use disorder care and conducting peer-to-peer discussions regarding specific patient issues related to treatment.
  • SB 1319 (Wahab): Expedite approval of projects that expand the continuum of substance use disorder rehabilitation facilities.
  • SB 1320 (Wahab): Require health plans to develop a mechanism to reimburse providers for mental health and substance use disorder treatment services that are integrated with primary care services. 
  • SB 1385 (Roth): Implement additional Emergency Department Practices by using navigators in urgent and critical medical settings and in the criminal justice system to treatment and recovery options.
  • SB 1468 (Ochoa Bogh and Roth): Educate and encourage providers to make use of the new federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) rule to allow practitioners to dispense a three-day supply of narcotic medication to start detoxification treatment or maintenance treatment for people who use opioids.
  • AB 2115 (Haney): This bill would expand access to medication assisted treatment (MAT) in California to save lives by aligning our Title 9 regulations to the new Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Title 42 regs on opioid treatment programs. By doing so, this bill would allow a nonprofit or free clinic to dispense MAT while arrangements are being made for referral for treatment. 
  • BUDGET ADVOCACY:  $4 million from the General Fund dollars for the California Bridge program, which provides training and guidance to emergency department doctors to expand and sustain their MAT programs, and the behavior health navigators program. 

Access to Treatment for Substance Use Disorders within the Criminal Justice System

  • SB 910 (Umberg): Establish statewide standards used by collaborative courts to improve programming, drug testing and Medical Assisted Treatment (MAT) for individuals moving through the criminal justice system.

Harm Reduction Strategies

  • SB 997 (Portantino): This bill would expand access to overdose reversal drugs and testing strips in schools by requiring school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to develop and adopt a policy that allows pupils in middle schools and high schools to carry a federally approved naloxone hydrochloride nasal spray, as provided, for the emergency treatment of persons suffering, or reasonably believed to be suffering, from an opioid overdose. The bill would require public middle schools and high schools that are operated by a local educational agency to stock and distribute fentanyl test strips, as provided, and to notify pupils about the presence and location of fentanyl test strips.
  • SB 1442 (Ochoa Bogh and Skinner): Empowers the CalRX to supply California with vital United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approved testing and health assessment equipment which will help increase access to affordable fentanyl testing strips for diagnostics purposes.
  • AB 1842 (Reyes): This bill would expedite access of overdose reversal drugs and medication assisted treatment by prohibiting a medical service plan and a health insurer from subjecting the following to prior authorization or step therapy: a naloxone product or another opioid antagonist approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, or a buprenorphine product or long-acting injectable naltrexone for detoxification or maintenance treatment of a substance use disorder. 
  • AB 1996 (Alanis): This bill would expand access to overdose reversal drugs by requiring each stadium, concert venue, and amusement park to ensure that the naloxone hydrochloride or other opioid antagonist is easily accessible and its location is widely known. The bill would require the department to develop an opioid overdose training program for these establishments and to notify these establishments of this training program.
  • AB 2136 (Jones-Sawyer): Would encourage more jurisdictions, research institutions and community-based organizations, such as harm reduction organizations, to offer critical drug checking services in their local communities and jurisdictions. The bill would provide the infrastructure for drug checking services to be offered by creating immunity for those engaged in these services with proper protection and immunity to engage in these services without fear of legal, civil, criminal, and administrative consequences that may arise from providing these services to the public.
Supporting Crime Survivors (Click to expand)
  • SB 899 (Skinner):  Under current California law, only domestic violence restraining orders require courts to follow-up on whether a firearm was properly turned over as required by law. This bill makes this practice consistent across all restraining order types and helps us keep firearms out of the hands of people who should not have them. 
  • AB 2020 (Bonta):  This bill would require the California Health and Human Services Agency to establish a statewide human trafficking survivor passport program for the purposes of identifying a person as a survivor of human trafficking and increasing efficiency in providing assistance to them. It would also authorize a county to establish a Human Trafficking Survivor Board to work with community-based organizations to identify and address issues relating to human trafficking in the local community. It would require state and local enforcement agencies to establish and maintain protocols for how to interact with people who are victims of human trafficking that include a best practice to contact and coordinate with a community-based organization.
  • AB 2499 (Schiavo): Extends unpaid sick leave to cover instances when an individual or their family has experienced violent or traumatic events. The bill would help address the gaps in current labor laws, ensuring that survivors and their families have the necessary time to heal without the added stress of potential job loss.
  • AB 2432 (Gabriel): Would create a new and permanent funding mechanism for the programs historically funded through the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and those administered by the California Victim Compensation Board by holding corporations accountable for legal and financial wrongdoing.
  • AB 2833 (McKinnor):  This bill will make restorative justice – which has been linked to reducing recidivism, increasing survivor satisfaction, and restoring communities – more accessible to survivors of crime by adding provision in the Evidence Code to make these communications inadmissible, except in specified instances.
  • BUDGET ADVOCACY: $200 million from the General Fund to prevent harmful reductions to critical, lifesaving services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, child abuse, and elder abuse. The federal government has reduced California’s funding under the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) resulting in a $200 million shortfall. If this shortfall is not addressed, service providers across the state will be forced to reduce staff, curtail services, and some may close their doors. As a result, victims who are in crisis and need urgent help might not be able to access sexual assault crisis hotlines, domestic violence shelters, or support as they navigate the criminal legal system.
Supporting Tribal Sovereignty and Safety (Click to expand)
  • AB 81 (Ramos):  This bill seeks to strengthen California’s implementation of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) by including state law citations in addition to the federal ICWA, reinforcing tribes’ rights in state proceedings, and clarifying social workers’ responsibilities when inquiring about a child’s tribal affiliation.
  • AB 1863 (Ramos): This bill strengthens the Feather Alert system by removing the statute that requires local law enforcement to act as the buffer between tribes and the CHP, and instead open the door for state and tribal police to work together. 
  • AB 1878 (Garcia): This bill will improve tribal housing programs by making changes to the existing state housing funds program to ensure the program meets their needs, including by requiring that the Department of Housing and Community Development provide outreach, education, and comprehensive technical assistance to tribes.
  • AB 2108 (Ramos):  This bill protects children missing from foster care by developing protocols for counties that require Tribes and other essential parties to be notified when Native American child is missing from foster care. 
  • BUDGET ADVOCACY: $12 million in this year’s budget to supplement past investments and counteract historic inquiries and to support culturally appropriate programs that stop the cycle of violence in Indigenous communities. 

#SmartSolutions in the News

Smart Solutions (#SmartSolutions) is a new, intersectional campaign to counter efforts to double down on criminalization and mass incarceration – which inevitably means wasting precious state resources that could be better spent on housing, health care, schools, services for victims, and programs that reduce recidivism and promote accountability beyond incarceration. The campaign is comprised of a broad coalition, including ACLU California Action, Smart Justice California, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Californians for Safety and Justice, Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), Vera Institute for Justice – California, and others. Join us here: https://bit.ly/SmartSolutionsCA

*The #SmartSolutions Policy Platform is not an indication of sponsorship or formal support of every measure by the co-signatory organizations. Organizations may have a neutral or support position on any of the measures in the platform. For questions regarding formal support for a measure, please contact Eric Henderson at eric@ehendersonconsulting.org.