Reject AB-1344 Proposal for Unregulated Needle Distribution

Please take a moment to read this! And please share! There’s a tremendous sense of urgency here, as public comments will only be allowed through April 22nd. Needle trash is a HUGE problem locally. Thousands of needles are being disposed improperly in San Lorenzo Park, in all of our local parks and beaches, as well as along illegal camps lining Highways 1 and 9.

It concerns expanding the volunteer distribution of needles in our local community and bypasses (and minimizes) any environmental impact on the community by exempting programs from environmental California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reviews.

THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS.

There is pending legislation which will permit the dramatic expansion of non-governmental needle exchange programs without the benefit of any local environmental review or even local program management and oversight. Amendments to Section 121349 of the Health and Safety Code (AB 1344) may be heard by the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources on or about April 28, 2021. The State requires that public comment must be made at least six days in advance of the Committee meeting, so any comments are required by April 22 – next Thursday – which necessitates your immediate action.

The problematic proposed legislation seeks to exempt State approval of expanded non-governmental needle distribution programs from any of the environmental impact reviews and compliance monitoring typically required of almost every other substantive governmental decision. This proposed legislation will likely increase local impacts regarding the unregulated, unmonitored, and solely voluntary distribution of syringe needles at parks, open spaces, the San Lorenzo River, its tributaries, and even its outflow at the coast and at our local beaches. This potential environmental degradation warrants the full environmental review, analysis, local comment and mitigations required of almost every other governmental decision which might impact the San Lorenzo and other waters, including housing, active recreation, or expanded community utilization (e.g., festivals).

Here’s the proposed exemption to State law:
“(1) Exempt [State] authorizations from review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for [non-governmental needle distribution and exchange programs].”

Again, please sign this online petition by April 22, 2021!

Signing this email petition sends emails to the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources in Sacramento, the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors, and the mayors of Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, and Watsonville. 

AB 1344 Proposal for Unregulated Needle Distribution

This petition is now closed.

End date: May 05, 2021

Signatures collected: 377

377 signatures