State Capital Briefs (Morning Edition): Tuesday, June 13
The News Service of Florida
Gov. Rick Scott faces a Wednesday deadline for acting on a measure that would impose minimum mandatory sentences for people who traffic in the dangerous synthetic drug fentanyl. The legislation (HB 477), sponsored by Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, and Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, would impose a minimum three-year sentence for anyone caught with at least four grams of fentanyl or other synthetic opioids like carfentanil. Under the proposal, anyone caught with 14 or more grams of fentanyl would be imprisoned for at least 14 years and those caught with 28 or more grams would serve minimum 25-year prison sentences. The legislation nearly failed to pass in the final days of the spring legislative session when the Senate sought to give judges more discretion in sentencing people in fentanyl cases. But the House prevailed in its position, insisting that even four grams represented a major amount of the drug, which has been linked to a surge of overdose deaths in Florida. The fentanyl legislation is one of 17 bills with a Wednesday deadline before Scott.