This week, there were significant advancements for two of our top priorities. On Thursday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals scheduled the health care lawsuit oral argument for June 8. This expedited schedule is exactly what we want, as it paves the way for the challenge of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court by fall. While the motion for en banc, or full court, hearing was denied, scheduling the oral argument so quickly will ensure that the case continues to move forward expeditiously.
Additionally, thanks to the leadership of Governor Scott, we have strengthened the fight against pill mills. Governor Scott launched the Statewide Drug Strike Force, which is comprised of law enforcement and government agencies and is bolstered by $800,000 of funding. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will coordinate these statewide efforts. I fully support this strike force, which will augment efforts already underway to protect Floridians.
Florida is notorious for its pill mills and is the epicenter of this national public safety crisis. The crisis is so severe that the path from Florida to other states has been referred to as the "OxyExpress" due to the ease with which out-of-state prescription drug abusers and dealers obtain drugs at Florida pill mills and take them back home for use and sale. Just today, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway shared his views on the prescription drug abuse epidemic and the prescription drug monitoring program. You can read his letter in the South Florida Sun Sentinel below. I am grateful that we now have a statewide strike force in place to tackle this issue on all fronts.
Letter to Environmental Protection Agency
On Tuesday, Attorney General Bondi joined 20 attorneys general in a bi-partisan letter that South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson sent to the Environmental Protection Agency requesting that they defer climate control regulations. The letter asks that the EPA allow Congress to consider the timing and necessity of the greenhouse gas regulatory program, which would have immediate and severe consequences, such as banning the construction of churches, buildings, hospitals and hotels.
Launch of Law Enforcement Strike Force to Fight Pill Mills
Attorney General Bondi joined Governor Rick Scott, FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey, and representatives of local law enforcement in announcing a statewide law enforcement response for an immediate impact to the criminal distribution and abuse of drugs in Florida. The Statewide Drug Strike Force will assist local law enforcement agencies by providing intelligence, as well as analytical and investigative support. Commissioner Bailey will serve as the statewide coordinator of the strike force, and local strike teams will be co-led by Florida’s sheriffs and police chiefs.
Law Enforcement Torch Run Kick-Off
On Thursday, Attorney General Pam Bondi kicked-off the 2011 Law Enforcement Torch Run that benefits the Special Olympics. Attorney General Bondi was joined by Governor Rick Scott, Senate President Mike Haridopolos, more than 300 law enforcement officers, and supporters from across the state.
Members of the law enforcement community will carry the “Flame of Hope” on a 1,500-mile journey throughout Florida for the 29th year of this tradition. Attorney General Bondi’s niece, Emma, who has Down syndrome, joined her on stage for the kick-off event.
Attorney General Bondi Speaks to Florida Blue Key
Wednesday morning, University of Florida alumna Attorney General Bondi spoke to members of Florida Blue Key about her role as Attorney General of Florida. Florida Blue key is a prestigious leadership group at the University of Florida. Attorney General Bondi, a third generation Gator, greatly enjoyed meeting with the Blue Key members.