Newsom Vetoes Bill That Would Have Authorized Drug Injection Sites In Los Angeles – San Bernardino Sun

Dashing hopes of progressives for a sweeping strategy to curb overdoses in California, Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday vetoed a bill that would have allowed experimental drug injection sites to open in Los Angeles, Oakland and San Francisco.

Senate Bill 57 would have allowed the three cities to become among the first in the nation to open facilities where users could bring in drugs and consume them in a safe and supervised setting. The bill passed the state legislature this month. But after returning the bill without his signature, Newsom expressed concern that the law could actually worsen the drug crisis in those three cities.

“The unlimited number of safe injection sites this bill would authorize — facilities that could exist until the end of this decade — could lead to a world of unintended consequences,” he wrote in a message from veto. “It’s possible that these sites will help improve the safety and health of our urban areas, but if done without a solid plan, they could defeat that purpose.”

Newsom added that he was directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to convene a group of city and county officials to discuss overdose prevention strategies and how to implement a more limited pilot program.

The move comes amid growing speculation that Newsom may be considering a presidential run. And while it’s unclear if those ambitions played into his decision, defeating the bill will likely only help him on the national stage, where the majority of voters would likely balk at the idea of ​​making it easier to drink. drugs, said Jack Pitney, professor of political science at Claremont McKenna College. .

“There is strong political justification for the veto,” Pitney said, “but politically he sidestepped a potentially significant issue.”

“We are incredibly disappointed and heartbroken that Governor Newsom put his own political ambitions ahead of saving thousands of lives and vetoed this critical legislation,” said Jeannette Zanipatin, California State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, in a press release. “Despite the governor’s remarks, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland have already designated this as a priority by authorizing the programs locally and stand ready to implement them quickly.

“We have already engaged local stakeholders in a robust process and they have taken active steps towards implementation in order to be part of the SB 57 pilot would have put in place. We don’t need any additional processes. What we need is action. Without action, people will die.

SB 57 would have allowed drug addicts to use drugs in a setting staffed by people trained to reverse an overdose. They would receive clean supplies, such as needles, and have access to drug treatment, medical care, mental health support and other social services.

The pilot program would have lasted until 2028.

Speculation has flown recently that Newsom is laying the groundwork for a presidential campaign. He bolstered his national presence with a trip to Washington, D.C. last month, and soon after launched attack ads in Texas criticizing Gov. Greg Abbott’s policies on guns and abortion.

Although Newsom has signaled in the past that he was receptive to the idea of ​​drug consumption sites, signing up for California to become the second state in the nation to operate such a program is probably not the best way to win. national political favor, Pitney said. Even in California, which is generally seen as a bastion of progressive ideals, there is a crackdown on crime.

Approving the SB 57 would have given ammunition to an adversary, Pitney said.

“That would be a bonus for a Republican opposition researcher,” he said. “It’s easy to write the attack announcement script.”

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