Fentanyl Trafficking Bill Goes To Scott

May 31, 2017

A bill that would impose minimum mandatory sentences for people who traffic in the synthetic drug fentanyl was sent Tuesday to Gov. Rick Scott.

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.

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 a minimum 25-year prison sentence.

The legislation nearly died in the final days of the 2017 legislation session when the Senate insisted judges be given 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 was one of 26 House bills sent to Scott on Tuesday. He will have until June 14 to act on the measures. If approved by Scott, the fentanyl bill would take effect on Oct 1.