Senate Republicans Approve Stronger Penalties for Sex Assault Crimes Against Women

Thursday, June 4, 2015

SACRAMENTO – The California Senate unanimously voted to pass Senate Bill 333 (Galgiani-D) known as the Controlled Substances Bill. Among some of the Republican co-authors of SB 333 include Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove), Senator Sharon Runner (R-Lancaster), and Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford).

SB 333 would call for stronger punishment of a felony against perpetrators who used “date rape” drugs such as GHB, Rohypnol, or ketamine with the intent to commit sexual assault and shall be punished by imprisonment for 16 months, or two or three years in state prison. The existing law states that possession of GHP, Rohypnol, or ketamine is a misdemeanor and punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year.

Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) serves as Vice Chair of the Health Committee and says SB 333 sends a message to perpetrators of sexual assault crimes.  

"Anyone who criminally possesses a controlled substance that can be used to incapacitate and sexually assault another person deserves to face the potential of a felony charge,” said Senator Nguyen. “I am hopeful that this legislation will serve as a significant deterrence to these acts of violence.”

Co-author Senator Runner (R-Lancaster) praised the Legislature for being proactive.

“The use of date rape drugs in sexual assault crimes especially rape is a despicable act. In fact, committing sexual assaults with the use of date rape drugs can result in a life sentence. However, we should not wait until a rape occurs to impose that penalty for using this drug. Possession with intent is enough,” said Senator Runner.

Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) is also a co-author of Assembly Bill 46 with Assemblymember Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) which also received bipartisan support. AB 46 will impose a felony crime for possession of date rape drugs with intent to commit sexual assault. If approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor, AB 46 will be another tool for prosecutors to use in date rape induced sexual assault cases.

“Victims of sexual assault crimes, who endure years of physical and emotional pain, deserve true justice,” said Senator Vidak. “SB 333 would help ensure sexual predators get the punishment that fits their crime.”

All this week, the California Senate is meeting to hear and vote on bills that will need to leave the Senate and be sent to the California Assembly due to the house of origin deadline on June 5.