FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Families of those who have lost loved ones to fentanyl gathered outside of the State Capitol to advocate for change.
"It's unfathomable for me to be standing here right now nearly 4 years later and not a damn thing has been done. I'm not a Democrat and I'm not a Republican, I'm a dad that lost a daughter," Matt Capelouto said.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers gathered alongside them too, once again, push for 'Alexandra's Law.'
If passed, the law would require the court to read advisement to convicted Fentanyl dealers that if they continue to sell the drug and someone dies, they can be charged with murder.
It's similar to the Watson Advisement that warns people convicted of DUI, if they drive under the influence again and kill someone, they can be charged with murder.
Drug dealers can already be charged with murder, but District attorneys like Placer County D.A. Morgan Gire say this will give him another tool to hold drug dealers accountable.
"Specifically with this bill it puts that knowledge directly on them so they can't later claim 'I didn't know' and that's all that language does," Gire said.
In the past, several bills proposing 'Alexandra's Law' haven't made it out of the public safety committee.
Opponents argue the dealers don't intend to kill, they are just trying to make money.
Assemblymember Jim Patterson was at the press conference in support of the new initiative.
He says since the state legislature isn't helping, they want to ask voters instead.
"If we can get past that first hurdle and it gets to the floor, I believe that it will receive the necessary two-thirds votes. It will go on the ballot and we have polling numbers that show, if it's on the ballot, it will pass by a significant margin," Patterson said.
If it passes, voters can expect to see the initiative on a ballot in 2024.
Patterson says he believes if this gets signed into law, it can help prevent future deaths from Fentanyl.
"I also think that we need to put the fear of the law and the fear of a murder charge into the hearts and into the minds of these dealers and maybe they'll decide to stop doing it," Patterson said.
In a statement sent out Tuesday, Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp applauded the initiative, writing:
"I salute the Republican Caucus for having the courage to bring this important issue directly to the voters after as it has become clear that a majority of the members on Senate Public Safety Committee will continually find excuses to move the goalposts in order to avoid passing sensible fentanyl legislation.
I would to thank Senator Ochoa Bogh for her continued support and relentless efforts to protect our communities from this poison. As she is the only member on that committee willing to support legislation to combat the fentanyl crisis.
Also, I'd like to express my appreciation to Senator Umberg (D) and all the Democrats and Republicans in the Assembly and Senate who have worked tirelessly to try to pass Alexandra's Law through the standard legislative process. It is a shame our state can't rely on certain the members of the Public Safety Committees to do their jobs."
Right now, there is no timeline on when the initiative will be assigned to a committee and move through the legislature.
Lawmakers say if it is approved by the Senate and Assembly, voters will see it on the November 2024 ballot.