Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing
Today is Sine Die, the last day of the 2014 Legislative Session. For the past 60 days, legislators and state leaders have worked tirelessly to enact legislation intended to improve Floridians’ lives. My office has worked closely with the Legislature to pass legislation that will better protect consumers, crack down on human trafficking, and remove deadly synthetic drugs from store shelves.
In order to better protect consumers from data breaches, my office worked with the Legislature on the Florida Information Protection Act. Identity theft wreaks havoc on individuals’ lives and can have long-lasting effects. This legislation will better protect Floridians’ personal information by ensuring that businesses and governmental entities take certain measures to protect personal information and report data breaches to consumers. The legislation will require a 30-day notice to my office when a significant data breach has occurred. I thank Senator John Thrasher, Representative Larry Metz, and the entire Senate and House of Representatives for their support of this important consumer protection legislation.
We also worked on legislation intended to provide much needed care options for human trafficking victims. Human trafficking enslaves children, women and men, and Florida ranks third in the nation in the number of calls to the national human trafficking hotline. The average age that Americans are first used for commercial sex is 12 to14, and we must do everything in our power to identify and help victims of trafficking.
The legislation I worked on with the Legislature establishes a Statewide Council on Human Trafficking within my office, which I will chair. The legislation establishes a comprehensive approach for the certification and funding of safe houses. It also requires the adoption of screening tools to help in the identification of victims and requires those working with victims to provide appropriate specialized care. Lastly, it calls for a study on sexual exploitation of children in Florida. I thank the Senate and the House of Representatives for passing legislation that will enhance efforts already underway to ensure that victims of human trafficking can voluntarily reside in a caring environment that allows them to feel safe while receiving much needed care.
Finally, we continued our efforts to keep dangerous synthetic drugs off of Florida’s store shelves. The Controlled Substance Bill adds six additional substances to Schedule 1 of controlled substances and adds three extremely lethal synthetic compounds, which are commonly found in the street drug “molly,” to the trafficking statute. The bill was sponsored by Representative Clay Ingram and Senator Rob Bradley; I thank them and the entire Senate and House of Representatives for their support of this bill. It will give law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to keep dangerous synthetic drugs and out of the hands of our youth.
In closing, hundreds of people in Florida’s Panhandle have been devastated by the storms this week. I ask that we keep them in our thoughts and prayers.
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Performs Licensed Healthcare Facility Checks in Flooded Areas
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit performed checks of licensed healthcare facilities in areas affected by the flooding in Florida’s panhandle. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is a partner agency pursuant to the existing State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. Acting on a request from the Agency for Health Care Administration, staff from the MFCU checked facilities to identify any public health and medical needs, and if required, to coordinate medical stabilization in affected counties, and to assist with the sheltering of people with medical needs, among other things.
Attorney General Pam Bondi Activates Price Gouging Hotline During Declared State of Emergency
Attorney General Pam Bondi activated the price gouging hotline in light of the Governor’s Declared State of Emergency in 26 counties. Florida law prohibits extreme increases in the price of essential commodities, such as food, water, hotels, ice, gasoline, lumber and equipment, needed as a direct result of an officially declared emergency. Anyone who suspects price gouging during this declared state of emergency should report it to the Attorney General’s Office by calling 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226). The price gouging law only applies within the areas of the declared state of emergency, which are: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Liberty, Franklin, Gadsden, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Hamilton, Suwannee, Lafayette, Dixie, Columbia, Gilchrist, Levy, and Alachua counties.
“Anyone who suspects price gouging in affected areas during this declared state of emergency should contact my office,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi, “Consumers can help protect themselves from price gouging by obtaining multiple estimates for construction jobs, carefully checking all payment terms and other provisions of contracts, and only doing business with reputable contractors and businesses.” More
Attorney General Pam Bondi Presents $88,487 Check to Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center
On Monday, Attorney General Pam Bondi presented a check for $88,487 to Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center, an organization whose mission is to empower, strengthen and stabilize South Florida's Haitian community. The money comes from the combined residue left from settlement funds following the resolution of antitrust litigation brought by the Attorney General's Office against pharmaceutical manufacturers. The court-approved settlements permit any residue following distributions to individual and government purchasers to be used to provide mental health assistance and counseling. Sant La provides counseling and other support services to Haitian immigrants of South Florida as they seek to adapt and successfully integrate into their new community. Sant La will primarily use the funds to expand its mental health support services and provide emergency and financial assistance to those in need. Sant La is expected to fund these services with the money provided over a one-year period. More
On Monday, Attorney General Bondi spoke at the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce Trustee Luncheon in Boca Raton, Florida.
On Wednesday, current Chairman of AIF and former United States Congressman and Florida House Speaker, Tom Feeney, visited the Attorney General Bondi with his father, Tom Feeney, Sr.
Nestor Galban, a House Page, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, visited Attorney General Bondi. Nestor enjoyed meeting Luke.
On Thursday, Attorney General Bondi met with Class IX of the Gubernatorial Fellows. This program is a non-partisan program that immerses students from public and private universities in key areas of state government for nine-months. For more info, please visit http://floridafellows.com/.
On Thursday, Attorney General Bondi delivered a prayer at the National Day of Prayer at the Capitol.
On Thursday, Attorney General Bondi visited with Jacksonville businessman and owner of the Jaguars, Shad Khan.
On Thursday, Attorney General Bondi visited with 3rd grade students.
On Friday, Attorney General Bondi met with Taylor County Sheriff's Deputy Robert Lundy. Lundy was recognized on the Senate Floor on Friday for his actions in response to a gunman at the Timberland Ford dealership in Perry in February. Lundy spent weeks at Shands Hospital in Gainesville in recovery after he was shot. Lundy is a 10-year veteran of the Taylor County Sheriff's Office. Lundy was accompanied by his wife, Kelly, Taylor County Sheriff Bummy Williams and Sheriff Williams' wife, June.