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Scott Signs Medicine Age Limit, Gas Pump Skimmer Bill

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Wikimedia Commons
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A plan to keep teens from buying over-the-counter cough medicines was among 14 bills signed into law late last week by Gov. Rick Scott.

The proposal (SB 938), puts an age restriction on products that include dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant sold without a prescription under brand names such as Robitussin, Coricidin, and Vicks.

Sponsored by Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, and Rep. Doug Broxson, R-Gulf Breeze, the bill was proposed after reports of teenagers using cough medicine to get cheap highs. Side effects of such intoxication, according to a Senate staff analysis, include loss of coordination, slurred speech, sweating, hypertension and involuntary spasmodic movement of the eyeballs.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported six deaths in 2014 related to dextromethorphan use.

The law, which will go into effect July 1, 2017, won't require stores to alter placement of the products, but will prevent local governments from imposing their own restrictions.

Skimmer Crackdown Signed

  Another proposal will crack down on people using electronic "skimmers" to steal credit-card or debit-card information at gas pumps.

The skimmer measure (SB 912), backed by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and the Florida Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association, will increase penalties for people holding counterfeit credit-card information starting Oct. 1.

"Increasing the penalties against individuals involved in the theft of fuel and requiring gasoline pumps to install advance security measures will assist in deterring this criminal activity that raises costs for all consumers," Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, said in a prepared statement.

Ned Bowman, executive director of the Florida Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association, said the new law will protect "all of us from being victims of gas pump skimmer fraud."

The proposal, sponsored in the House by Majority Leader Dana Young, R-Tampa, requires gas-station owners to use additional security measures on self-service pumps. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services may also prohibit the use of fuel pumps until such security measures are installed.

Putnam's office has noted that more than 190 skimmers have been found statewide since the beginning of 2015.

"Approximately 100 consumers are victimized by each skimmer, resulting in $1,000 stolen from each victim on average," Putnam's office said after the House approved the bill March 8. "Each skimmer represents an estimated $100,000 threat to consumers."