Medical-Aid-in-Dying Bill Dies, Other News from Sen. Blakespear


The last two weeks have been particularly intense in the California State Legislature‚ as dozens of bills have been killed‚ watered down‚ or approved and passed along to the next committee.

After being on the hot seat for an hour presenting and debating the merits of three of my environmental bills‚ I chose to take the stairs up seven flights to my Capitol office to clear my head with a short and intense climb. I reflected on my gratitude at being given the opportunity to fight to better our world. My colleagues and I parry questions – vigorously and civilly making our best arguments. We present opposing values‚ counter misinformation‚ accept defeat and feel pride at small successes.

The Legislature in April is truly the rough and tumble of the marketplace of ideas unfolding in real time. You can watch our hearings online here. Sadly‚ one of my highest profile bills died last week. The bill‚ as I described in my last newsletter‚ aimed to give more people with a terminal illness greater control over the timing of their final goodbye. When someone has an incurable disease or illness that is causing them great suffering and will result in their natural death‚ I believe they should have the medical autonomy to make a decision about their life that is at a time and in a manner that works best for that person.

SB 1196 would have modified the “End of Life Option Act” to expand options for adults to qualify for aid-in-dying medication. Many of you wrote to me about this bill‚ with a great variety of personal stories‚ and strong feelings of both opposition and support.

The bill is not moving forward because there simply was not the needed support. I faced a wall of opposition from all sides‚ including my colleague Sen. Susan Eggman‚ who authored the original End of Life Options Act‚ and the California Medical Association‚ which represents 50‚000 doctors and medical students in the state. There was also opposition from the disability community and Compassion & Choices‚ the national group that usually lobbies FOR end-of-life options. Those who are typically in support of end-of-life medical autonomy were opposed for various reasons‚ including that they did not feel comfortable deviating from the law’s current requirement that patients be within six months of death‚ which means most of the patients are already on hospice. My conversations with all stakeholders made it clear to me that I was unlikely to get the support of my colleagues to create a path to success at this time. However‚ this topic remains of great interest to me and to those who supported the bill.


Making the Case To Do More On Homelessness

Senator Blakespear Co-Presents SB 1011 Video StillI co-presented SB 1011 with Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones to the Senate Public Safety Committee. Click on the image to watch.

Another bill that I cared a lot about also met with defeat last week. This bipartisan legislation‚ which aimed to deal with homeless encampments in public places‚ was rejected by the Senate Public Safety Committee. The bill was modeled on part of a program that is working well in the City of San Diego.

We need to do better on homelessness‚ and the current state of affairs – the lack of housing‚ the homelessness encampments in public spaces in our cities – is not acceptable. I am committed to working with fellow legislators and advocates to take immediate steps to address this crisis.

What I truly want to see is all of us focused on this problem of homelessness. I am interested in what we can do in this state. People say there is no money in the state budget to expand programs‚ but it’s not just about money. We need to redouble our efforts‚ work together and consider all the ways we can attack this problem.


Bill Banning Plastic Bags Clears Committee

Sen. Blakespear, Asm. Tasha Boerner, and Sen. Ben Allen at press conference, surrounded by advocates for SB 1053.
I spoke at a press conference in February introducing the bill with (to my immediate left) Asm. Tasha Boerner and Sen. Ben Allen. We are surrounded by advocates for the bill and the “Plastic Bag Monster.”

My legislation to ban the use of plastic bags at grocery store checkouts passed the Senate Environmental Quality Committee last week.

SB 1053 closes the loophole to the original ban on plastic bags enacted 10 years ago that has allowed stores to provide customers thicker plastic bags at the checkout counter. The truth is almost none of those bags are recycled or reused and they end up in landfills or the ocean‚ polluting the environment.

Plastic waste is destroying our environment and jeopardizing our planet. A plastic bag has an average lifespan of 12 minutes and then it is discarded‚ afflicting our environment with toxic microplastics that impact our oceans and landfills for up to 1‚000 years. SB 1053 will dramatically cut California’s plastic bag pollution.

SB 1053 builds on California’s environmental legacy by strengthening regulations on the use of plastic bags. This legislation stops the use of plastic film bags that are currently sold at checkout to consumers by most stores. Those type of bags were allowed in the original ban on single use plastic bags passed in 2014 because they were deemed recyclable and reusable.

However‚ the bags are difficult to recycle – and so few are ever recycled – and they are seldom reused. Instead‚ they have contributed to California’s growing plastic waste. According to CalRecycle‚ the amount of grocery and merchandise bags disposed by Californians grew from 157‚385 tons of plastic bags the year California passed the bag ban to 231‚072 tons by 2022 – a 47% increase!

The legislation tightens standards for reusable bags and requires stores to provide 100 percent recycled paper bags or let consumers use reusable bags.

SB 1053 is supported by 86 different organizations‚ including Californians Against Waste‚ California Public Interest Research Group (CalPIRG) Students and Heal the Bay. The bill goes next to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.

As a side note – the thin plastic bags used for meat and produce are not affected by this bill.


Next Rail Hearing is Coming Up

Revitalizing SoCal Rail.

On Monday‚ we will hold the next hearing for the subcommittee I chair‚ the Senate Transportation Subcommittee on LOSSAN Rail Corridor Resiliency. Titled “Waves and Trains – Revitalizing Rail‚” the hearing will focus on what was done to protect the track in San Clemente‚ what more needs to be done and future plans. It is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. You will be able to watch the hearing live on the Senate’s website here.


Great Turnout for Laguna Hills District Office Open House

Laguna Hills office ribbon cutting.
We held a ribbon cutting for our Laguna Hills office‚ which is inside the Laguna Hills City Hall complex.

We welcomed many to the grand opening of my Laguna Hills District Office on April 12th.

The event opened up with a land acknowledgement by Shannon Wingfield from the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians Acjachemen Nation. Guests enjoyed the district staff’s favorite desserts and visited with members from the Orange County Fire Authority and Orange County Sherriff’s Department. They also heard remarks from Laguna Hills Mayor Dave Wheeler and the Laguna Hills Chamber of Commerce President Christina Kennedy.

It was a pleasure to connect with everyone who attended. I am committed to serving our community and addressing the issues that are important to you‚ so thank you to those who participated and let me know what’s on your mind.

Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions‚ concerns‚ or ideas‚ or if you need help with any problems you may be having with a state agency.

Senator Blakespear with constituents.
It was delightful to meet constituents‚ young and old‚ who had questions for me about what I’m working on and various opinions about what the Legislature should be doing. I appreciated the interest and input.

Senator Blakespear with constituents.


Honoring Slomo, a Pacific Beach Legend

Encinitas Field Representative Aurora Livingston presenting a Senate Certificate of Recognition to Dr. John Kitchin, better known as Slomo.
My Encinitas Field Representative Aurora Livingston presented a Senate Certificate of Recognition to Dr. John Kitchin‚ better known as Slomo‚ for his 81st birthday.

Anyone who has spent any time on Pacific Beach boardwalk has probably seen Dr. John Kitchin skating by. He’s well known for his love of hyper-slow skating and his positive energy. Happy Birthday Slomo!

Thank you for your support. I am honored to serve you.

In partnership‚



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Email me at

Call my Encinitas district office at (760) 642-0809

Call my Laguna Hills district office at (949) 598-5850

Call my Capitol office in Sacramento at (916) 651-4038