Press Release

CA Senate OK’s Sen. Skinner’s Legislation to Curb Retail Theft and Reduce Fentanyl Addiction


The California state Senate today approved two bills by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, that are designed to curtail retail theft and prevent fentanyl addiction. Both pieces of legislation, SB 1144, Shutting Down the Market for Stolen Goods, and SB 950, Healthy Recovery, Successful Reentry, won bipartisan approval and are part of the state Senate’s Safer California Plan.

SB 1144 would strengthen California law regulating online marketplaces by ensuring that these platforms are not facilitating the sale of stolen goods and incentivizing retail theft. And SB 950 is designed to reduce the incidence of fentanyl addiction among those returning home after being incarcerated.

“Online marketplaces are a valuable tool to buy and sell legitimate goods and services, but increasingly they’re also the method organized retail theft operators rely on to unload stolen goods,” Sen. Skinner said. “By requiring high-volume sellers to prove the legitimacy of their business and the goods they’re selling, SB 1144 will make it a lot harder for retail thieves to use online marketplaces as giant fencing operations.”

“To help break the cycle of drug addiction and recidivism, SB 950 will ensure that the health care, supportive services, and substance use treatment that many formerly incarcerated people rely on can continue as they return home,” Sen. Skinner added.

SB 1144 would strengthen Sen. Skinner’s 2022 law, SB 301, landmark legislation that established the state’s first-ever regulations governing the sale of stolen goods on online marketplaces. According to many brick-and-mortar retailers, the rapid growth of online marketplaces has spurred retail theft, with a significant portion of goods sold on online having been stolen from stores. According to some estimates, $500 billion worth of stolen or counterfeit products change hands via online marketplaces each year.

Sen. Skinner’s SB 301 helped combat the sale of stolen goods online by providing higher standards of accountability and verification and by helping marketplaces identify and take action against sellers of stolen goods. SB 1144 would strengthen SB 301 by also requiring online marketplaces to regulate high-volume sellers that advertise goods online but who complete their sales transaction offline rather than through the marketplace. According to retailers, many of online sellers of stolen goods do not complete their sales using the online marketplace transaction function, thus allowing the seller to avoid the regulations created under SB 301.

SB 1144 will build on SB 301 by:

  • Clarifying that a third-party seller who uses an online marketplace to sell high volumes of new or unused goods must comply with the requirements in SB 301, regardless of whether the payment is processed on the marketplace or is sent directly to the seller;
  • Requiring online marketplaces to suspend or terminate, and flag to law enforcement, high-volume third-party sellers they reasonably believe are selling stolen goods;
  • Allowing local district attorneys, city attorneys, and county counsels to file civil charges against an online marketplace or an individual for selling stolen goods on the online marketplace;
  • Improving transparency by having online marketplaces inform consumers that high-volume, third-party sellers have been verified and certified on their platforms.

And SB 950 will help break the cycle of drug addiction and recidivism by:

  • Requiring the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to work with the federal government, other state departments, and community organizations to assist eligible incarcerated people to enroll in Medicaid/Medi-Cal, SSI, CalFresh and other programs as appropriate prior to the person’s release into the community;
  • Requiring the Board of State and Community Corrections and CDCR to work with drug and alcohol recovery experts and reentry advocates to identify ways to further expand supportive services for those incarcerated;
  • Ensuring that those who reside in re-entry facilities are enrolled in food, health care and other support services, if eligible, to facilitate reentry success.

SB 1144 won bipartisan approval in the Senate on a 33-1 vote, while SB 950 passed unanimously on a vote of 39-0. Both bills are now headed to the state Assembly.


Sen. Nancy Skinner represents the 9th Senate District and is chair of the Senate Budget Committee and the California Legislative Women’s Caucus.