Florida House rejects compromise in fentanyl trafficking bill

This undated photo provided by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office shows fentanyl pills. Authorities say they've arrested Ryan Gaston, a man in a Cleveland suburb after seizing more than 900 fentanyl pills marked liked tablets of the less-potent opiate oxycodone. The Cuyahoga County medical examiner said that lookalike pills were likely to blame for some of the county's 19 fentanyl-related overdose deaths in January 2016. (Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office via AP)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – A bill that toughens penalties for certain synthetic drug traffickers hit a roadblock after the Florida House rejected a Senate-added provision that would have allowed judges to break from mandatory minimum sentences in certain fentanyl cases.

State Rep. Jim Boyd, a Republican sponsoring the measure (HB 477), said Thursday that not having minimum mandatory sentences for “scumbag” drug dealers would defeat the purpose of the bill. The bill now heads back to the Senate for reconsideration. But with two days left for bills to pass the Legislature, time could put the effort to combat opioid abuse in jeopardy.

The measure also seeks to increase sentences for those in possession of certain synthetic drugs, including murder charges for fentanyl traffickers in cases where the buyer overdoses and dies.



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