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By Lillian Boyd

Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) received the Orange County Sheriff’s Award from Sheriff Don Barnes on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at a surprise informal ceremony during a Division Commanders’ briefing with high-level command staff in Santa Ana.

The sheriff gives the award to individuals who he believes have made a significant contribution to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the community. The award is in recognition of Senator Bates’ legislative efforts to improve public safety, including her work over the years to reduce fentanyl-related deaths.

State Sen. Patricia Bates

“Senator Pat Bates has been a steadfast advocate for policies that keep our community safe,” Barnes said. “As one example, over the last five years, the Senator has been my partner in sounding the alarm about fentanyl and the need to enact legislation to hold accountable those trafficking this deadly substance.”

Sen. Bates has authored several measures surrounding law enforcement and public safety. Senate Bill 722 was introduced in 2015 to crack down on sex offenders who willfully remove or disable their tracking devices. In 2016, SB 1283 aimed to address the growing concern over the proliferation of sober living homes in residential neighborhoods. In 2017, SB 75 was introduced to expand the definition of “violent felonies” to include crimes deemed to be serious and violent in nature.

In partnership with San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan, she authored SB 1109 that then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law. SB 1109 informs Californians, especially young people, about the risks of prescription opioids.

Gov. Gavin Newsom also signed two public safety bills from Senator Bates into law this year: SB 434 (“Brandon’s Law”) protects people seeking addiction treatment from false advertising and marketing services, and SB 248 strengthens the law regarding sexually violent predators.

“I give my heartfelt appreciation to Sheriff Barnes for this prestigious award,” said Sen. Bates. “Just as importantly, I thank him and all the members of the Sheriff’s Department for their ongoing efforts to keep Orange County as safe as possible.”

Sheriff Barnes added that the Senator’s efforts are worthy of recognition.

“I am pleased to honor her with the Sheriff’s Award for her continual defense of our public safety mission,” Barnes said.

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