Serving as Florida's Attorney General has been an incredible honor, and I am proud that my office has accomplished so much within the six months since I took office. From leading an historic constitutional challenge to the federal government's authority to fighting against the proliferation of pill mills and prescription narcotic trafficking in Florida, it has been a full and exhilarating start to my tenure as Attorney General. I'd like to share a few highlights with you.
Florida and the 25 other states in our challenge to the federal health care law are fighting against a law that clearly oversteps Congress' authority as limited by the U.S. Constitution. In January, Judge Vinson agreed with our position and struck down the federal health care law. In June, I attended oral arguments before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on this important issue. I am hopeful for a prompt decision from the 11th Circuit so that this case can quickly be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Another issue of national significance is the proliferation of pill mills in Florida, which are supplying prescription narcotics to the entire country. With the support of law enforcement, the House of Representatives, the Senate and the Governor, we passed comprehensive anti-pill mill legislation that increases criminal and administrative penalties for pill mills and overprescribing doctors. Today the legislation is in effect, and we will see immediate results both at the regulatory and criminal level.
One effect of prescription drug abuse that often isn't discussed is the rising numbers of infants born going through drug withdrawal syndrome caused by prescription drug abuse during pregnancy. Many women who use these drugs are unaware of the dire consequences, and I intend to focus on education and outreach to women in Florida to end this heartbreaking trend.
In another battle against drug abuse in Florida, Bay County Sheriff McKeithen notified me about a new synthetic drug methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), known as "bath salts," that had caused several violent incidents in his area. I immediately issued an emergency rule that temporarily banned the drug in advance of the Spring Break tourist season. By working with the law enforcement community, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Governor, we passed legislation that permanently outlaws this drug so Florida's store shelves will never legally house this dangerous drug again.
While we uphold the federal and state constitutions and protect Florida from drug abuse, my office also dedicates significant efforts to protecting consumers. As the entire country faces the growing foreclosure crisis, we are actively investigating unlawful practices by foreclosure law firms. Our landmark settlement with attorney Marshall C. Watson and his firm for alleged improprieties in the prosecution of foreclosure cases throughout Florida resulted in a $2 million payment and imposition of requirements, with $1 million going to the Florida Bar Foundation for grants to legal aid organizations serving low-income Floridians facing foreclosure actions.
These are just a few of the highlights since I've taken office, and each day I am honored to serve as your Attorney General and am committed to fighting for your rights. In closing, as we approach the July 4th holiday, I am grateful for how fortunate we are to live in America. No other country offers the freedom, liberties, and the chance of prosperity that we are blessed with here in the United States. It is also important to remember that freedom comes with a price and should never be taken for granted. As we celebrate this holiday, please thank those who serve our country-without them, we would not have the independence we enjoy today.